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Re: The worst that can happen to GPLed code

From: Lee Hollaar
Subject: Re: The worst that can happen to GPLed code
Date: Fri, 18 Jun 2004 14:50:28 +0000 (UTC)

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

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.

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