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Re: GPL and other licences

From: Stefaan A Eeckels
Subject: Re: GPL and other licences
Date: Sat, 11 Feb 2006 01:43:12 +0100

On Fri, 10 Feb 2006 23:35:38 +0100
"Alfred M\. Szmidt" <> wrote:

>    Nonsense.  The GPL can't dictate that people may access my physical
>    copies of software.
> Sighs, I am not talking about _physical_ copies.  Got that?  Not the
> CD, but the content.

The content does not exist without the physical copy. It is the
possession of a copy that gives rights under the copyright statutes
(like the first sale right) or a license. Thus, without the possession
of a copy, there are _no_ rights.

This is what I have been trying to explain by saying that the license
is not attached to software, but to the copy. In other words, the
software is, and remains, the property of the author. The copy, and only
the copy that you lawfully acquire gives you the possibility to accept
the GPL, and thus make copies of your copy and distribute those.

>    You really don't get internal use.
> And you don't get what the heck is being discussed.

I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but you are the one who really doesn't
get it. 

When you act as an agent for someone else, you do not become the owner
of your principal's possessions, you merely act on their behalf. This
is why they have to authorise the copying and distribution of their
copy of the GPLed software. You, not being the owner of that specific
copy, do not have the right to do so unless duly authorised by the
owner of the copy, and the license under which the owner acquired the
software is irrelevant to you. For example, you do not know if the
author licensed that particular copy under another license than the
GPL (which is her right). This is further proof that the license is not
attached to the "software", but is an agreement between the copyright
owner and the recipient of a particular copy.

This is, I assure you, the way copyright/author's right laws under the
Berne Convention work. 

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

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