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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: 19 Jun 2004 17:50:51 -0700

Alexander Terekhov <> wrote in message 
> Ernest Schaal wrote:
> [...]
> > doubt that the court would construe the copyright law as he would desire
> > anymore than the tax courts would buy the argument that taxpayers don't have
> > to pay income tax if they don't use zip codes (one of the strange legal
> > theories floating on the internet).
> I fail to see the analogy. Think of something material available in 
> infinite quantity for free. 
> regards,
> alexander.

The analogy is that in both cases, people who either don't know the
meaning of specific legal terms or deliberately misuse specific legal
terms develop legal theories that aren't grounded in reality. In the
case of the not using zip codes, some tax avoidance nuts have proposed
the theory that they don't have to pay federal income taxes because
they are not "federal citizens" and the only thing that would make one
a "federal citizen" would be if you used zip codes. Your comments
about fair use and first sale doctrine show a similar disconnect with

Legal terms (i.e., terms used in the law) have specific meanings that
are more precise than common usage. This specificity is achieved
through decades (in some cases, centuries) of court decisions
construing those terms. The average person, or even the average
intelligent person, would not know those meanings without reading
either the cases themselves or commentaries describing those cases or
commentaries based on those cases.

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