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Re: "GPL requirement could have a chilling effect on derivativedistros"

From: Stefaan A Eeckels
Subject: Re: "GPL requirement could have a chilling effect on derivativedistros"
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2006 10:36:40 +0200

On Fri, 30 Jun 2006 09:07:59 +0200
David Kastrup <> wrote:

> Tim Smith <> writes:
> >  Basically, it
> > says that if you have a legal copy of a copyrighted work, you do
> > *NOT* need the permission of the copyright owner to distribute it.
> >
> > This is why you can sell a book to a used bookstore, without having
> > to contact the author and get permission.
> The question is whether I can cut the book into two parts and sell it
> to different people, or in different sales.

Probably. I daresay this has never been tested in court :).

> Breaking a car down for parts is fine, but a car is not a literary
> work.

And as such it is not interesting to split a book into chapters for
separate resale. One could imagine doing so with a book that's a
compilation of articles, for example. I'm quite sure that the copyright
holders would not be interested in stopping this if they could. After
all, the book has been sold and consideration has been received.

The problem with a GPLed work is that the consideration is delayed. One
gets the work for free, but if one wants to use it in a binary-only
fashion one can't. It's very tempting - "here is this lovely code
that will save me a lot of time in my quest for easy gains, but there's
this obnoxious license that I should abide by. Oh bother". 

To the dishonest person, trying to get around the license in
"creative" ways comes naturally. Of course, the right behaviour is not
to use the GPLed work. But I am not amazed that there are a lot of
dishonourable people around who cannot resist the temptation...

Stefaan A Eeckels
Governments are like babies: digestive tracts with a big appetite at
one end and no sense of responsibility at the other. The better run
ones from time to time get clean diapers...   

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