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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: Fri, 18 Jun 2004 23:24:41 +0200

On Fri, 18 Jun 2004 19:48:38 +0200
Alexander Terekhov <> wrote:

> Stefaan A Eeckels wrote:
> [...]
> >                          Then, in order to make an
> > executable, you'll need to copy the object into the
> > executable, which is again a copy.
> And in order to pack a downloaded picture file into archive (together 
> with other pictures you already have) you also need a copy. So what? 

You do not have the right to make these copies, as
they are not part of running the program on your
systems, but of preparing something for distribution.
And as first sale only applies to the original...

You have to realise -and I did argue this point to 
death here a while ago, simply because it sounded
so utterly senseless to me- that the copyright statutes,
at least in the USA, take making copies very litterally.
For example, loading the program from disk into memory
constitutes making (given the several levels of
cache in modern computers) at least two copies (main
memory and CPU cache). Add one for second level cache,
and one if it gets into the swap space, etc. These
copies are specifcally allowed, but other copies, 
such as copying an object file into an executable
for the purpose of distribution, are not allowed. 
It doesn't matter that they are intermediary, and
an inherent part of the operation of the system.

This is also why your first sale trick doesn't work.
You have to make a copy to get the files you want 
out of the tarball, and you can't do that without
permission, or when you do it to make the program
run on your systems (as a specific exception).

> The fact that a copy was made part of an executable doesn't change 
> anything. 

It means that you cannot distribute the executable 
without complying with the GPL. It's as simple as

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

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