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Re: Circumventing the GPL

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: Circumventing the GPL
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2008 21:18:47 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.0.60 (gnu/linux)

Hyman Rosen <> writes:

> It occurs to me that in the U.S. there is a relatively easy
> way to circumvent the requirement of giving away source code
> for GPLed software.
> Company A prepares a work derived from GPL-licensed code.
> Company B purchases copies of this work from Company A.
> For each copy purchased, Company A sends Company B two disks,
> one with the binaries and one with the sources. Company A has
> thus completely discharged its duties under the GPL. Then
> Company B turns around resells only the binary disks to its
> customers, but not the source. Company B is allowed to do this
> under the First Sale Doctrine, and therefore does not need a
> license to resell the software. The customers of Company B
> have no one from whom they can demand source code, and thus the
> GPL is circumvented.

Where is the point in throwing away valuable material?  Where is the
point in paying A for copying source and binaries _AND_ then make you
unable to do copies yourself?

I mean, it's like circumventing robbery laws by withdrawing money from
your own bank account pointing your gun on an ATM all the while.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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