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Re: GPL 2(b) HUH?

From: Tim Smith
Subject: Re: GPL 2(b) HUH?
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2008 01:31:47 -0700
User-agent: MT-NewsWatcher/3.5.3b2 (Intel Mac OS X)

In article <gat1q0$8du$>, (Rahul Dhesi) wrote:
> David Kastrup <> writes:
> ...
> >In short: I read and understand your words and explanations, but they
> >don't seem to apply at all.
> Your fundamental error was assuming that anything in this discussion
> thread made any sense. Rjack sent you all off on the wrong course by
> quoting a bunch of irrelevant fragments about derivative works.
> Let me yell at you just a little:

Sure, but nevertheless, derivative works are relevant, because the FSF 
rather vehemently insists that the GPL does not restrict any activities 
that do not require permission under copyright law.

Hence, when considering doing something with GPL code, you have to ask 
yourself "Am I doing anything that actually requires permission from the 
copyright owner?".  If the answer is "no", then GPL is irrelevant to 
what you are doing.

For example, if I want to modify some GPL code and run it on my 
computer, I don't have to concern myself with anything in GPL, because 
17 USC 117 tells me I don't need permission.  (The GPL happens to say 
what I want to do is OK, which is nice, so I'm doubly covered).

Another example: if I want to sell my Kindle, which contains GPL code 
(it's built on Linux), I don't have to worry about whether or not the 
GPL makes me responsible for providing source code to the buyer.  17 USC 
109 tells me I don't need permission of the copyright owner, so again, I 
don't have to care what GPL says.

Answering the "do I need permission?" question often requires figuring 
out if you are making a derivative work or not.

--Tim Smith

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