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Re: GNU licenses

From: Merijn de Weerd
Subject: Re: GNU licenses
Date: Tue, 05 Sep 2006 13:56:39 +0200

On Tue,  5 Sep 2006 12:15:35 +0200 (CEST), "Alfred M. Szmidt"
<> said:
>    If I distribute illegally, I am not bound by the license. See you
>    in federal court for copyright infringement. I won't have to see
>    you in state court where you try to compel specific performance of
>    the license.
> What you are basically saying is: If I commit murder, then I am not
> bound by the law.  Obviously, you are bound by the law, and in the
> case of violating the license, bound by the license.

Your analogy is not valid. A license is not the law. It's an agreement
between parties: you allow me to do something, I will do something in
return. I am not bound by that until and unless I *choose* to do so. 

Copyright *is* the law. If I do not abide by it, I can be punished. This
can be civil: you sue for an injunction and damages. It can be criminal:
the police arrest me and the judge sentences me to a fine or jail time.

Think about it. I can put a sign next to my door saying "If you enter my
house, you indicate you are willing to paint my walls for free". If you
then voluntarily enter, I can hold you to that sign and you're going to
have to start painting. You saw the sign, you knew I needed someone to
paint my walls, and now you're it.

A burglar who breaks into my house the next night is committing a
felony. I can call the police and have him arrested. He'll be sentenced
to jail or he may have to pay a fine. According to you I can instead
force him to paint my walls because of the sign.


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