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Re: GPL and other licences

From: Alfred M. Szmidt
Subject: Re: GPL and other licences
Date: Tue, 07 Feb 2006 22:31:03 +0100

   As you've noticed, it the backslash in your name. It stands out
   like a sore thumb. My apologies, I was frustrated with you and

Noted, I am still abit frustrated with David; and it might have come
over you.  As for the backslash, I really have no idea how to fix
that, sorry.

   >    where he's trying to argue he can copy GPLed software because his
   >    company "gave" him the CD (to file), it would not be your
   >    unfinished software, now would it?
   > If the company recived the CD legally, and gives it to me, then the
   > company cannot dictate what I can do with it, only the copyright
   > holder can.

   As I tried to explain, for certain values of "give". If the company you
   work for instructs you to file all CDs in a cupboard, they do not
   transfer ownership to you, and thus you're merely acting in your
   capacity of agent of the company. You might describe your job as "they
   *gave* me a lot of CDs (to file)", but that value of "give" is not the
   same as when they give the CD to you to keep ("Hey Alfred, here's an
   old copy of Linux, would you like to have it or do I throw it in the

This example is more aking to the postal service poking in your mail;
they have only permission to deliver the mail, and not open it.  I'm
speaking about a specific case where the company gave me the CD, to do
something with its content.  I.e. they gave permission to me (as a
employee) to access the content on the CD.  I claim that the company
cannot dictate that I am then not allowed to give you or David a copy
of the content.

Sorry if I haven't been specific enough with the example.  In short,
the employee is in legal possession of the binary/code of the CD,
which he recived from his employer (note the difference between the
`postal service' example, where the postal service was not granted
access to the actual content or the actual CD; but only to deliver it
to the proper place).

   > If the company got a "hot" CD with David's software, and I would
   > then distribute it, then both the company and I could be sued by
   > David for copyright infrigment, and other fancy stuff.

   Actually, as far as I understand it, you would be the only person
   in trouble. The company might have a pre-release of David's GPLed
   software, but this does not give you, their employee, the right to
   copy and distribute it. The fact that the software is licensed to
   the company under the GPL does not mean that it is licensed to you
   under the GPL, and hence you would be in the dock for theft (of the
   CD, and the software).

I disagree with the first part, i.e. that the company wouldn't be
liable.  They too are in posession of an illegal copy.  I also
disagree with the later part, if David gives a pre-release of his
sofware which is GPLed to the employeer (notice how I don't speak
about the `company', but about a specific person), then the employeer
has a license to use the four freedoms, this of course includes giving
people a copy of the pre-release.

   Take care,

You too.  Happy hacking!

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