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Re: The worst that can happen to GPLed code

From: Barry Margolin
Subject: Re: The worst that can happen to GPLed code
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 2004 15:31:07 -0400
User-agent: MT-NewsWatcher/3.4 (PPC Mac OS X)

In article <>,
 Alexander Terekhov <> wrote:

> Barry Margolin wrote:
> [...]
> > Not if you want them to provide you a tangible copy -- then you have to
> > buy a tape or CD-ROM. ...
> If it's "sold" (price is irrelevant, see the determination criterions 
> posted earlier in this thread) online, I can download it to MY tape 
> or whatever tangible. Why it's so hard for you to grasp the difference 
> between online sales of copies and online services (as it's called in 
> the EU and to which first sale doesn't apply)? Read the report.

I'm not familiar with the EU's rules, but in the US you're allowed to 
make any copies that are necessary to use the software (e.g. installing 
onto your hard drive) as well as a backup copy for safety.  But you may 
only keep these copies as long as you own the copy that was sold to you; 
if you resell that, you must dispose of these copies (although I've 
never actually heard of anyone enforcing this for backups -- it's 
clearly unreasonable to require someone to destroy all the backups 
they've made of their hard drive since installing the software).

All of this is permitted for your personal use of the software.  But 
your original message in this thread was about making a compilation and 
redistributing that, and claimed that first sale doctrine permitted 
this.  But that compilation is a copy, not the original media that you 
purchased, so the doctrine doesn't apply.  And this use is not one of 
the exceptions that the statute explicitly permits without permission of 
the copyright owner.

Barry Margolin,
Arlington, MA
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