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Re: GNU licenses

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: GNU licenses
Date: Sun, 03 Sep 2006 19:18:34 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.0.50 (gnu/linux)

"Alfred M. Szmidt" <> writes:

>    But there is no such thing as an unintentional or automatic
>    licensing under the GPL.  It may be the only _legal_ option, but it
>    is not automatic and can't be defaulted.
> You have trouble reading, I never said that or even implied it.  By
> modifying or distributing the code you have _explicitly_ accepted the
> license.

Nonsense.  Like I have not explicitly accepted the general trade
conditions of a vendor by taking something from the shelf, the act of
distribution does not signify an acceptance of the license.

It can't signify that, because I can easily distribute something
_without_ heeding the conditions of the license.

If I couldn't, there would be no necessity to ever enforce a law.

You just don't get it.

> There is no "unintentional" or "automatic" licensening involved, you
> _explcitly_ accepted the license at the point where you either
> modified the program or distributed it.

No.  If somebody mixes GPLed software with his own and distributes the
result under a proprietary license, _nobody_ may assume acceptance of
the license.  Most particular, the recipients of such software have
_no_ right whatsoever under the law to demand source code from the
redistributor.  _If_ the redistributor accepted the license, he would
be required to provide source code to the _recipients_.  But the
recipients are _clearly_ not in the legal position to sue for this.
Instead, the copyright holder of the GPLed software is the only in the
position to sue for compliance.

As long as you don't understand that, you are joining the people
spreading the "viral GPL" food with nonsense like "if you ever touch
GPLed software, then unwittingly all your software might fall under
the GPL".

No such thing happens.  There is no acceptance and redistribution
under the GPL, unless one consciously redistributes under the GPL.

> |   5. You are not required to accept this License, since you have

"You are not required to accept this License."  Do you understand what
that means?  Read it word for word and try to understand it.

> |   not signed it.  However, nothing else grants you permission to
> |      modify or distribute the Program or its derivative works.

"grants you permission to modify..."  Do you understand what that
means?  Read it word for word and try to understand it.  It does not
mean "makes it physically possible to ...".  It means "grants you
permission".  You can still modify and distribute the Program or its
derivative works _without_ accepting the License, but then you are
doing it _without_ permission, and this is actionable by law.

> Again, please go and read the license, the only person spreading FUD
> here is you simplying wanting to argue about a point which we do not
> disagree with!

You don't even understand that.

For example, if somebody combines a GPLed program and proprietary
stuff and distributes the combination to you, you can't spout "by
distributing the GPLed program, he explicitly accepted the license, so
I got this under the GPL and may redistribute as I see fit."

No.  You'll be breaking the law, and can end up in prison or heavily
fined by doing so.  Nothing puts software under the GPL except the
explicit act by the copyright holder, and nothing can replace this
act.  Anything else is naivety that can end you up in jail.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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