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Re: The worst that can happen to GPLed code

From: Ernest Schaal
Subject: Re: The worst that can happen to GPLed code
Date: Sat, 19 Jun 2004 09:06:10 +0900
User-agent: Microsoft-Entourage/

in article cauvfk$9sc$, Lee Hollaar at wrote on 6/18/04 11:50 PM:

> In article <x5oenhotjw.fsf@lola.goethe.zz> David Kastrup <> writes:
>> (Lee Hollaar) writes:
>>> I can become the lawful owner of a copyrighted work without any
>>> exchange of consideration.  It's called a gift.
>> But then copyright does not apply.  If I write a letter with a poem in
>> it to you, you are not allowed to pass it on to somebody else without
>> my permission.  If I _sell_ a letter with a poem in it to you, you
>> are.
> Wrong, again.
> Copyright always applies in the United States for works that have been
> fixed in a tangible medium of expression.  It has NOTHING to do with
> sale.  A work is still protected by copyright, even if I find it in
> the street.
> If I am the lawful owner of a copy of a letter, perhaps because it
> was sent to me, then I can tranfer my ownership to another without
> the permission of the writer.  That's what 17 USC 109 says.
> But I am not the owner of the copyright in the letter, and cannot
> make reproductions of it (nor perform it in public) unless I have
> the permission of the copyright owner or I fall within one of the
> statutory exceptions.

A classic example of the concept that the owner of a letter does not
normally have the copyright to the letter is the case a while back where the
author of "Catcher in the Rye" prevented publication of content of letters
given to a library.

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