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Re: Circumventing the GPL

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: Circumventing the GPL
Date: Fri, 25 Jul 2008 23:11:27 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.0.60 (gnu/linux)

Tim Smith <> writes:

> In article <85iquux95b.fsf@lola.goethe.zz>, David Kastrup <> 
> wrote:
>> >> > The copies were pretty clearly made lawfully under GPL.  I am clearly 
>> >> > the
>> >> > owner of the copies.  So, why can't I take advantage of first sale and
>> >> > sell them, without the need of copyright permission?
>> >> 
>> >> Because you agreed not to sell them without source when you accepted the
>> >> GPL which you did when you made the copies.  
>> >
>> > Ahhh. But don't you know that the GPL is not a contract (agreement) in
>> > the GNU Republic, uncle Hasler? :-)
>> You can claim either agreement or non-agreement with the conditions.
>> Your choice.  In the latter case, you had no permission to copy in the
>> first place.
> Ah, but note that in my hypothetical, when I made the copies, I had no 
> intention of distributing them.  I was making them for my own use, and 
> did use all of them.  Thus, at the time they were made, they were 
> "lawfully made".

If I let go of a brick above your head with the firm intention to catch
it again, and then I decide otherwise, that's fine?  Because there is no
duty for people to catch bricks?

> It was only later, when they were now just physical junk to me, that I
> decide to dispose of them the same way I do with other excess physical
> junk.

You don't have that choice.

> Can that later act retroactively change the creation of the copies
> from lawful to unlawful?

You stop heeding your part of the deal and you stop having your rights.
Simple as that.

> I think that if I were making the copies with intent to distribute,
> then a good argument could be made that the copies are unlawful.  The
> court would see this as trying to cheat on the license, and find some
> way in equity to bitch slap me.
> But that's not my hypothetical--in my hypothetical there was never any
> intent to cheat.

It doesn't matter.  The law does not require judges to read minds, it
relies on facts.  If I decide to kill you and later change my mind
before I do anything, no law in the world can pursue me for it.  Intent
is not actionable.  Preparations and attempts are.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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