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Re: GPL and other licences

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: GPL and other licences
Date: Thu, 02 Feb 2006 15:06:59 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Alexander Terekhov <> writes:

> GNUtian logic in action.
> GNUtian David Kastrup wrote:
>> Alexander Terekhov <> writes:
>> > David Kastrup wrote:
>> >>
>> >> Alexander Terekhov <> writes:
>> >> >
>> >> > One can download a copy of GPL'd work (without any "I accept")
>> >> > directly to a compilation on a tangible medium. In source code
>> >> > or object code form (both forms are wildly available).
>> >>
>> >> The mere presence of duplicable material somewhere does not give
>> >> you any automatic right to create copies of it.
>> >>
>> >> If somebody leaves his door open, that does not mean that this
>> >> gives me the right to go inside and take or copy whatever I
>> >> wish.
>> >
>> > Go tell this to Honorable ALVIN K. HELLERSTEIN, U.S.D.J.
>> No need to:
>> >
>> >
>> > "Netscape's SmartDownload, ... allows a user to download and use
>> > the software without taking any action that plainly manifests assent
>> > to the terms of the associated license ... Netscape argues that the
>> > mere act of downloading indicates assent. However, downloading is
>> > hardly an unambiguous indication of assent. The primary purpose of
>> > downloading is to obtain a product, not to assent to an agreement.
>> > ... Netscape's failure to require users of SmartDownload to
>> > indicate assent to its license as a precondition to downloading and
>> > using its software is fatal to its argument that a contract has been
>> > formed.
>> "Contract".  See?  The GPL explicitly states:
>>       5. You are not required to accept this License, since you have not
>>     signed it.  However, nothing else grants you permission to modify or
>>     distribute the Program or its derivative works.  These actions are
>>     prohibited by law if you do not accept this License.  Therefore, by
>>     modifying or distributing the Program (or any work based on the
>>     Program), you indicate your acceptance of this License to do so, and
>>     all its terms and conditions for copying, distributing or modifying
>>     the Program or works based on it.
>> In the court case you cited, the judge decided that if a copyright
>> holder makes something available for download without further
>> technical measures to announce its licence, then no contract is
>> formed and the recipient is merely bound by copyright law if he
>> decides to ignore the license.
>> But copyright law does not allow you redistribution of copies.  
> It does. 17 USC 109, idiot.

You are losing it.  You always resort to insults when running out of

> See also
> "There is no dispute that section 109 applies to works in digital
> form. Physical copies of works in a digital format, such as CDs or
> DVDs, are subject to section 109 in the same way as physical copies
> in analog form. Similarly, a lawfully made tangible copy of a
> digitally downloaded work, such as a work downloaded to a floppy
> disk, Zip disk, or CD-RW, is clearly subject to section 109."

"lawfully made".  There is no law that permits you making copies of
whatever you may come across on the web.  You need the permission of
the copyright holder.  There is permission implied in the act of
making the stuff available for download, but it is certainly a stretch
to assume that this implied permission would cover an unlimited number
of downloads for the sole purpose of artifically and nominally
circumventing the restrictions on the number and use of copies for
_personal_ use that copyright law permits.

In general, courts don't react favorably to trickery intended to
circumvent the intent of a law.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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