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Re: GNU licenses

From: Merijn de Weerd
Subject: Re: GNU licenses
Date: Mon, 04 Sep 2006 22:21:12 +0200

On Mon,  4 Sep 2006 13:13:53 +0200 (CEST), "Alfred M. Szmidt"
<> said:
>    If I copy a GPL-licensed work and utterly ignore whatever the GPL
>    says, how is a statement *in the GPL* going to change my legal
>    position?
> By copying the program, you accepted the license.

I did no such thing. It's possible to copy works without accepting their
license. True, that's copyright violation. But hey, if I want to violate
copyrights, I can do it. Sue me.

> "distributing the Program (or any work based on the Program), you
> indicate your acceptance of this License to do so"

That statement can only become true once I accept the license. It is not
a universal truth: suppose I distribute the Program with a big fat note
"This note indicates I do not accept the GPL".

> So your legal position if you ignore whatever the GNU GPL states is:
> copyright infrigment.

Yes. Hence my conclusion that the statement in the GPL has no value.
Either I accept the GPL, in which case it's a truism (which has no
value), or I do not accept the GPL, in which case my distribution by
definition does not indicate my acceptance. 

Why does this matter? Well, if I accepted the GPL you can get a court
order to make me abide by its terms. If I do not accept the GPL, you can
sue for copyright infringement. Different laws, different consequences;
maybe even different courts (e.g. federal vs. state, in the US).


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