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Re: GPL and other licences

From: Stefaan A Eeckels
Subject: Re: GPL and other licences
Date: Thu, 2 Feb 2006 21:11:30 +0100

On Wed, 01 Feb 2006 16:03:16 +0100
"Alfred M\. Szmidt" <> wrote:

> It does boil down to that, you are still violating the license, and in
> turn copyright law.  Just that nobody knows of it so nobody can sue
> you.

Not quite, as (at least in the USA) the copyright statues allow you to
take reasonable action (including making or commissioning modifications)
to make a legally obtained program run on your equipment. 

> And if you use it internally in a business then you are distributing
> the program to anyone who uses it.

There seems to be large agreement on the interpretation that letting
employees and agents of an organisation use software does not
constitute distribution.

> You are asking if you can break the law as long as nobody knows about
> it, or if only a selected few know about it.  Sorry, this isn't how
> law works.

Theoretically, one should not violate the law, and know all laws.
Practically, laws that can be violated with impunity whilst forbidding
what most people consider normal behaviour (like not making copies of
records for private use), and cannot reasonably be enforced, are bad
laws and should be struck.

As complexity rises, precise statements lose meaning,
and meaningful statements lose precision. -- Lotfi Zadeh 

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