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Re: The worst that can happen to GPLed code

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: The worst that can happen to GPLed code
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 2004 10:03:12 +0200

Stefaan A Eeckels wrote:
> example, to download djbdns, combine it with a GUI of


"You are free to download the software from my web server; you then 
 own that copy of the software"


"Software user's rights

 In the United States, once you own a copy of a program, you can 
 back it up, compile it, run it, and even modify it as necessary, 
 without permission from the copyright holder. See 17 USC 117. 

 For example, after purchasing a copy of Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 
 Workstation---which is a poorly tuned version of NT 4.0 Server, 
 minus a few utilities---you can back it up, apply a small patch 
 that fixes the tuning, and run the result. 

 Microsoft hates this. Of course, Microsoft could restrict your 
 rights by demanding that you sign a contract before you get a 
 copy of Windows NT, but this would not do wonders for Windows 

 So Microsoft puts a ``license'' on all of its software and 
 pretends that you don't have the right to use the software 
 unless you agree to the ``license.'' You can't patch Windows 
 without their permission, according to the license; you can't 
 use NT Workstation for more than 10 simultaneous connections; 
 you must give Microsoft your first-born son. (Or something like 

 The problem with Microsoft's license is that it's unenforceable. 
 You can simply ignore it. Microsoft can't win a copyright 
 infringement lawsuit: you own the software that Microsoft sold 
 you, and Congress gave you the right to use it. 

 Ten years ago, the SPA convinced Louisiana to subvert the will 
 of Congress by passing a law that declared shrinkwrap licenses 
 enforceable. In Vault v. Quaid, 847 F.2d 255 (5th Cir. 1988), 
 this law was struck down. Federal copyright law preempts state 

 The SPA didn't give up. It keeps arguing in court that, gee, if 
 all these software makers claim that you can't use the software 
 without a license, then they can't all be wrong, can they? 
 (Ignore the fact that they're willingly selling their software 
 to the public.) 

 The SPA lost again in Step-Saver but then won in ProCD. I 
 expect the Supreme Court to step in within the next few years 
 to resolve the dispute in favor of Vault and Step-Saver."

DJB rulez! 

alexander. < ROFLing >

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