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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 13:52:26 +0000 (UTC)

In article <x5wu25ouhr.fsf@lola.goethe.zz> David Kastrup <> writes:
>First sale applies if there is a sale.  It doesn't if there isn't.
>Copyright defines the minimum set of rights that can be _sold_ to you.
>It does not apply to items to which you have no right in the first
>place, but to which you are unilaterally granted a conditional license
>to use and redistribute, without any exchange of consideration from
>your side.

Wrong, wrong, wrong, at least under United States copyright law.

"First sale" is just a shorthand for the judicially-created doctrine
that is now codified in 17 USC 109.  It does not require a "sale"
but applies to anyone who is "the owner of a particular copy or
phonorecord lawfully made under this title".

I can become the lawful owner of a copy by gift or similar things
that are not a sale.

And if I am the lawful owner, I can dispose of it in any way I want,
except for rental in the case of phonorecords or most computer

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