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Re: SFLC's GPL court enforcement -- track record

From: Hyman Rosen
Subject: Re: SFLC's GPL court enforcement -- track record
Date: Thu, 24 Jul 2008 09:27:33 -0400
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20080213)

thufir wrote:
The buyer is the guy who walks in off the street and purchases the router (which run GPL'ed software)?

To my understanding, the buyer does have the right, under the GPL, to the source. After, the GPL is targeted, you could say, at buyers to protect copyright owners.

That depends on how the seller of the routers acquired them.
If he buys them from the manufacturer, he can sell them to
the guy in the street, and that buyer has no one from whom
he can demand the source, because first sale doctrine allows
the seller to sell the included software without a license.
The buyer of the router still has full rights under the GPL,
so, for example, he could decompile the software, change it,
redistribute it, and so forth. But there is no one who must
provide source code to him.

If no buyer has rights to the source, then that would make
> the GPL pointless, which, I suppose is your argument?

It's not that the buyer has no rights to the source, it's that
no one in this case has an obligation to provide it to him.

That seems backwards in that, for example, the copyright
> holder might be dead, and lets say has no heirs and no will.

That's just the way it is. Old but still copyrighted works
languish all over the place.

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