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Re: Question About GNU General Public License

From: Isaac
Subject: Re: Question About GNU General Public License
Date: Wed, 14 Jul 2004 17:45:28 -0500
User-agent: slrn/ (Linux)

On 14 Jul 2004 11:51:54 +0200, David Kastrup <> wrote:
> Isaac <> writes:
>> If I broke into your office and stole an unfinished program that
>> would not compile, would it be a copyright infringement for me to
>> post the code to the internet?
> Actually, no.  Since you did not acquire a legal copy in the first
> place, every use of the program is criminal.  Copyright does not come

The fact that an action has criminal consequences does not prevent the 
same action from being a copyright violation. 

> into play here at all.  If I steal a set of GPL-licenced CDROM images
> from RedHat and post them on the internet before publishing has
> occured, this is not a copyright infringement, but theft.  I can't
> make "personal" or "backup" copies of stolen software.  Copyright
> does not apply.  I can't republish GPLed stolen software, since it
> was not GPLed to me.

Your actions of obtaining the software would be theft.  But surely
you are not saying that distributing stolen software would not also
constitute copyright infringement in addition to breaking whatever
the applicable criminal provision.

You're also seem to be avoiding the point.  Do you not own the copyright
in your incomplete non functional, possibly buggy code?  Is there
provision in the law that suggests that I do not have copyright in
partial programs as soon as I type in the source code and store it
in RAM or on my hard drive?


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