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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: Thu, 17 Jun 2004 14:12:30 +0000 (UTC)

In article <> Stefaan A Eeckels 
<> writes:
>copies aren't considered tangible property, and hence aren't
>covered by the first sale doctrine.

This, at least in the United States, is complete nonsense.

   "Copies" are material objects, other than phonorecords, in which a
   work is fixed by any method now known or later developed, and from
   which the work can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated,
   either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. The term
   "copies" includes the material object, other than a phonorecord, in
   which the work is first fixed.

So, by some strained logic, you claim that a material object is not
tangible because it's digital?

And also in the United States, once you are the "owner of a copy of a
computer program" you get to make another copy or adaptation "as an
essential step in the utilization of the computer program in conjunction
with a machine."  17 USC 117(a).  That likely includes the untarring of
the program if that is necessary to use it.

And as the "owner of a particular copy or phonorecord lawfully made,"
you get to dispose of its possession as you see fit, 17 USC 109(a),
except by rental, 17 USC 109(b).

This is why most proprietary software purports to be licensed.  But
the GPL and similar licenses don't have similar terms.  Instead, they
license only the further distribution of a modified work, something
that is not covered by either sections 109 or 117.

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