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Re: More GPL questions

From: Merijn de Weerd
Subject: Re: More GPL questions
Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2006 18:32:43 +0200
User-agent: slrn/ (FreeBSD)

On 2006-10-24, Stefan Monnier <> wrote:
>>>'re perfectly entitled to install and run GPL'd software without
>>> accepting the GPL, because those rights are already conferred to you by
>>> the fair use doctrine of copyright.
>> They are conferred[1], but not by fair use (in the US).
>> [1] More precisely, they are not reserved for the copyright owner.
> I'm not sure I understand.  What/who confers them then?

Copyright law. There's explicit clauses in most copyright laws
that say the executing/running of software is always permitted
(provided you obtained the software legally). Any copies you
need to make to run the software are not covered by copyright.

This is not the same as "fair use". It's a separate article of
copyright law that says you can do this. For fair use, you need
to do a four-factor test: the purpose and character of the use,
the nature of the copyrighted work, amount and substantiality 
of the portion used, and the effect of the use upon the potential
market for or value of the copyrighted work. This is vague and
sometimes difficult to prove.

Fortunately, when you legally acquire a copy of a computer
program, you don't have to do that: you can run it as much
as you want.


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