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Re: GPL and other licences

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: GPL and other licences
Date: Sun, 05 Feb 2006 16:01:57 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.0.50 (gnu/linux)

John Hasler <> writes:

> David Kastrup writes:
>> "internal use" is defined in corporate laws. 
> It is not necessary to appeal to corporation law.  The same rules apply
> whether you are acting as an employee of IBM or am employee of me.  An
> employee is an agent and acts on behalf of and under the direction of his
> employer.  He may gain temporary possession of property of his employer in
> the course of his job but he does not gain any rights to that property.
> There is a possible loophole here, though it is, I think, of little
> significance: As part of your job you gain possession of a CD of GPL
> (or other Free) software.  Without the knowledge or permission of
> your employer you take the CD home and copy it onto a blank CD that
> you own.  if your employer finds out he can fire you for this, but
> it seems to me that you still own the copy you made and he can't
> take it away.

He can ask the court to have it turned over.

I am a developer of GPLed software myself, and I am dependent on
getting paid for producing it.  I am also reselling it.  My typical
customers would not engage in distributing the material, even though
they have the right to do so.

If people illegally copy and redistribute software for which they have
neither received license from me nor from my customers and never were
owner of a legally acquired copy (such as a copy _given_ to them by a
customer of mine), this damages my business in a way that was not
permitted by myself.  So I, as the copyright holder, am still able to
claim damages.  Not because of a breach of license (which permits
redistribution), but because the perpetrator never received license to
do so from anybody.

When we are, in contrast, talking about ubiquitous software, like an
unmodified copy of gcc, anybody misappropriating a copy with the
software and subsequently distributing it would likely have to face
criminal charges depending on the way he did this, but could hardly be
sued for civil damages by the copyright holder or a distributor, since
he could easily have acquired access to the software in a different
manner without paying anybody.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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