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Re: The worst that can happen to GPLed code

From: Stefaan A Eeckels
Subject: Re: The worst that can happen to GPLed code
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 2004 15:58:22 +0200

On Wed, 16 Jun 2004 14:02:39 +0200
Alexander Terekhov <> wrote:

> Exactly. Read it again. Hint: "lawfully made tangible copy". Read 
> also ("A 
> copy made in the course of an authorized download").

Alex, you're not convincing me, and I don't have the
time to read all the stuff you dig up, because your
all too litteral reading of (semi-)legal texts leads
nowhere; applying the law calls for judgement and

Now to get back to the question you asked originally:

| I say that in the scenario below I lawfully own ten copies of GNU 
| readline and I have never assented to the GPL. David says tha I 
| own "None" and that the GNU web site "broadcasts" software tarballs
| (kind of Television < ha ha >). Who's correct? TIA.

You lawfully own ten copies of GNU readline. You
haven't assented to the GPL. The GPL acknowledges
that you can have a copy without assenting to the

First sale says you can sell the copies, provided they
are "tangible". At first sight, downloading a copy to
a floppy to be able to claim first sale won't cut it
with most judges, but even if you'd find a judge to
agree with you, you'd still have to prove that this
allows you to disregard the provisions of the Copyright
statutes pertaining to the preparation of derivative works.

If you modify readline before you put it on a floppy,
you will already have made a copy - and a judge might
consider that this invalidates your first sale defense.
After all, you'll have to extract the tarball to disk
(one copy of each file), and make a new tarball (a second
copy), before you can put the modified tarball on a
floppy. The judge might decide, quite reasonably, that
your first sale right applies only to the copies you

The only way you'll prevail is by testing your 
interpretation in court. Until then, I'll remain
singularly unimpressed by your arguments (and
decidedly annoyed by your posting style).

"What is stated clearly conceives easily."  -- Inspired sales droid

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