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Re: GPL and other licences

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: GPL and other licences
Date: Sun, 05 Feb 2006 13:08:14 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.0.50 (gnu/linux)

"Alfred M\. Szmidt" <> writes:

>    > The license _does_ apply.
>    It applies to the licensee, the company.  Not its workers.
> The workers are also the licensees.
>    > It is you who don't get it.  You are saying that all companies
>    > that have illegal copies of Windows, are not breaking the law,
>    Liar.  I say no such thing.
> | You just don't get it.  You can't do _anything_, period, with
> | company property without company permission.  You are not the owner.
> | The license does not apply to you.  Neither does copyright.  Your
> | rights are restricted to what the company allows you to do with its
> | property.
> Since copyright does not apply to _me_ I can go and install anything I
> want on the companies machines.

Nonsense.  Since copyright does not apply to you, you are not allowed
to do _anything_, period.  There is no such thing as an implied right
of copying.  You don't understand the "right" in copyright.

>    Where crime is concerned, every individual can beheld accountable
>    _as_ _well_ as his superiors and company in general, if it is
>    done as part of his job and not his own idea.  But we are not
>    talking about crimes.  We are talking about licenses and
>    permissions, rights.  And the worker does not acquire any rights
>    to company property.
> Property != Software!  Why are you confusing the two?  I'm not
> talking about property, we agree on that.  If the company lends me a
> car, then it isn't my car.  Simple as that.  Why are you insisting
> on this?

If the company lends you a software CD, then it isn't your CD.  Simple
as that.  Since it isn't your CD, you don't have the right to access
the software on it for your purpose.  Since it isn't your CD, the
contents are not licensed to you.  Since it isn't your CD, the rights
granted by copyright law to the owner of a tangible copy are not
granted to you.

>    > You are also speaking about some kind of owner of the software,
>    > you cannot own software!
>    Liar.  I am pointing out time and again that it is the physical
>    tangible copy that is owned.  And this ownership which is not
>    transferred to the company worker implies rights to the content:
>    granted by copyright, possibly constrained by contracts, possibly
>    extended by licenses.  The company is bound by those conditions,
>    and they don't magically disappear because a worker is acting on
>    behalf of this company.
> Stop calling me a liar.

Then stop lying.  After I repeated the third or fourth time that
ownership concerns the physical tangible copy, your repeating this
false assertion about my statements can't be called anything else.

And if you keep up doing this, in spite of me telling you that I am
talking about ownership of the physical copy, then I'll keep pointing
out that you are lying.

> It doesn't serve any thing other than fuel this disucssion to the
> point of a flame.  You have on continued basis claimed that software
> is property.


> You also seem to not grasp anything that we are discussing, it is
> the _software_ located _ON_ the CD, not the CD itself.  Stop
> insisting that it is otherwise.

And the rights to access said software are governed by license and
copyright, to the party owning the particular copy, the licensee.  In
this case the company.

>    The licensee is bound by the license.  The licensee is the company,
>    and has to abide by the license.
> If I have the software in my hand it is _I_ who am the licensee.

Wrong.  You have no clue about corporate laws apparently.

> Not the company.  You cannot buy a license for a company, you can
> buy a license for N number of people.

Wrong.  You are confusing users and licensors.

>    Liar.  There is no "private copy" involved here at all, and you
>    can do _nothing_ whatsoever with a company copy except what the
>    company tells you.
> I cannot do anything with the physical copy yes, if I make a copy of
> the software located on the physical copy,

There is nothing that would allow you to make a physical copy.

> no, then I'm bound by the license of the software.

Nonsense.  You are in a possession of an illegally produced copy to
which you have no rights whatsoever.  "Abiding" by the license or not
is just smokescreen and does not change this.

>    Copyright does not apply here.  You get _no_ rights to copy or
>    otherwise use the software, under _no_ circumstances.  Because as a
>    company worker you are not the person owning the copy.  And the
>    _rights_ granted by either copyright or license apply _only_ to the
>    owner of software.
> Once again, if you speak about a physical entity, you are correct.
> But I am speaking about a copy of the software that was located on
> this physical entity, then copyright law applies.  You once again
> confuse two different things: tangible vs. intangible.

But you need a tangible copy in order to access the intangible
content.  And duplicating the intangible content is not legal unless
you are the owner of the physical copy and are entitled to the
duplication by copyright laws, license terms or contracts.

> You cannot redictate the terms that a copyright holder put on
> something.

Licensing is not something covering the intangible content.  It is
something accompanying the tangible copy.  That's why there are
"cleanroom reimplementation" procedures: it is ok to come up with the
same intangible content as long as it does not derive from a protected
physical copy.

> It doesn't matter if it is `internal use' or not.  If you give me as
> a company employee a CD with software on it, and that software
> allows me to use, modify, distribute, and study it, then I can do
> those things.

Wrong.  You can only act as agent of the company according to your

> I cannot go and give away the _CD_ unless I have permission from the
> company, but I can redistribute the software that is stored on that
> CD if the copyright holder gave me such permission.

But the copyright holder didn't.  The copyright holder only gave that
permission to the company, and unless the company decides to pass it
on to you (which it can only do if the license permits it), you have
no rights to redistribute stuff that is not licensed to you.

> The company cannot ever redictate the terms of the copyright holder,
> period.

But the terms are not "you are forced to redistribute" but "you can
choose to redistribute".  If the company chooses "no", a company
worker is not in the position to ignore that.

> What part of this is so hard to understand?  I'm sad to say that you
> have dropped below the level I thought a person could drop, even
> Alexander makes more sense than you on a bad day.

Look, get a clue about corporate law.  It is not so hard to do.  If a
company were not a legal entity of its own, there would not need to be
such laws.

And if you don't believe me about this, read the GPL FAQ.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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