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Re: Question About GNU General Public License

From: telford
Subject: Re: Question About GNU General Public License
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 2004 01:04:41 -0000

David Kastrup <> wrote:
> <> writes:

>> David Kastrup <> wrote:
>> > Certainly.  But you'll have a hard time explaining to a court that
>> > what you sold to the customer and that what the customer desired
>> > to have was an incomplete program that will not run.  In
>> > particular if you give the customer tested instructions and
>> > scripts for combining your program with copyrighted material.
>> A set of tools and instructions to perform a legal act.

> It is only legal if just the customer is responsible for doing it.

Can you think of any everyday example where there exists a sequence of
actions such that if Joe performs those actions it is legal but if
Fred writes down those actions and hands that to Joe and then Joe
performs the exact same actions then Fred has performed an illegal act?

Suppose Joe is licensed to drive a car and Fred writes down a list
of directions to get somewhere but Fred is not licensed to drive.
Joe follows the directions given by Fred and gets to the destination.
Who has broken the law here?

>> > If I sell bombs with instructions "fill in fertilizer XYZ-34 here",
>> > can I explain to a court of law that I am not actually selling bombs
>> > since the things won't explode before the customer fills in
>> > the fertilizer which I don't sell?
>> A set of tools and instructions to perform an illegal act.

> But if just the customer is responsible for doing it, then the vendor
> would not be doing anything illegal.

No, the customer is responsible for performing an illegal act and
under a separate law, it is also illegal to assist someone in or entice
someone into performing an illegal act. Customer and vendor are guilty
of different offenses.

>> Seems quite different to me...

> Who is responsible for the outcome of an assembly according to
> manufacturer's instructions?

Irrelevant. The two examples above are clearly comparing apples
with doorknobs and have no similarity whatsoever. Comparing software
compatibility to bombing is utterly and completely useless as a
measure of the legality of those actions.

        - Tel

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