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Re: "GPL requirement could have a chilling effect onderivativedistros"

From: Stefaan A Eeckels
Subject: Re: "GPL requirement could have a chilling effect onderivativedistros"
Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2006 23:20:59 +0200

On Thu, 29 Jun 2006 21:44:55 +0200
Alexander Terekhov <> wrote:

> Stefaan A Eeckels wrote:
> [...]
> > In the case of the purchase of a copy, it should be rather obvious
> > that paying for a single copy does not entitle you to the
> > downloading of as many copies as your bandwidth permits, even if
> > the server doesn't stop
> That's not what I'm saying. You purchase 500 copies, not one. You
> have a choice: 500 CDs in a box, or download-and-burn-yourself. You
> choose the later. How many times are you going to download?

If the ability to circumvent the GPL depends on first sale then
you must obtain identifiably separate copies. In the case of a sale,
the receipt stating the number of copies should do. In the case of a
free download, you should be able to prove that you downloaded the
software the appropriate number of times. 

Only a shyster would argue that you can just as well copy the first
downloaded file "because the result is the same". Legality is about
respecting the rules of the game. 

And in any case, the point is not so much whether the GPL and the
Copyright Statutes have loopholes, but about respecting the wish of the
author of the software. If she offers to license it under the GPL, the
honourable course of action is to abide by her wishes. 
> I don't think that unrestricted downloads of GNU stuff shall be
> treated under law any different (no matter how many copies you
> download-and-burn-yourself).

The fact that a neighbourhood newspaper can be obtained for free
does not mean that you can copy it "because that is more convenient
than picking up more copies from the corner store". Downloading or not
downloading, copying or not copying, this is not about finding
loopholes, but about respecting the rights and wishes of the author. We
do not need perfect laws and perfect licenses to do that. 

I, for one, will never ever consider doing business with you. You
cannot be trusted to honour an agreement.

Take care,

Stefaan A Eeckels
"One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide
stupidity there ain't nothing can beat teamwork."     -- Mark Twain

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