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Re: GPL licenced Java application using non GPL jars (libraries)

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: GPL licenced Java application using non GPL jars (libraries)
Date: Mon, 22 May 2006 20:33:27 +0200

David Kastrup wrote:
> >> That concerns the transfer of particular acquired copies, not
> >> distribution involving the creation of additional copies.
> >
> > Legally speaking, "distribution" doesn't involve creation of additional
> > copies at all. And 17 USC 109 is about particular copies "lawfully made",
> > not "acquired". All downloaded copies of publicly available GPL'd works
> > are lawfully made.
> As long as you have permission.  

Sez GNUtian dak.

Note that the GPL does not acknowledge Section 109 when it states
"However, nothing else grants you permission to modify or distribute
the Program or its derivative works."  It also ignores Section 117
when, which gives "the owner of a copy of a computer program" the
right to "make or authorize the making of another copy OR ADAPTATION
of that computer program" if it is "an essential step in the
utilization of the computer program in conjunction with a machine".

As for Eben Moglen's assertion that "Licenses are not contracts" in (previously cited),
he offers little justification for the statement:

    the work's user is obliged to remain within the bounds of the
    license not because she voluntarily promised, but because she
    doesn't have any right to act at all except as the license permits.

In light of Sections 109 and 117 (and possibly other exceptions),
that statement is wrong with respect to United States copyright law.
Just look at the wording of Section 109 -- "is entitled, WITHOUT THE

Says Lee Hollaar who worked with the Chief Judge and the Chief 
Intellectual Property Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee on 
Internet, copyright, and patent issues as a Committee Fellow

There is no dispute that section 109 applies to works in digital
form. Physical copies of works in a digital format, such as CDs or
DVDs, are subject to section 109 in the same way as physical
copies in analog form. Similarly, a lawfully made tangible copy of 
a digitally downloaded work, such as a work downloaded to a floppy 
disk, Zip™ disk, or CD-RW, is clearly subject to section 109.

Says U.S. Copyright Office.


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