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Re: GPL 2(b) HUH?

From: Rahul Dhesi
Subject: Re: GPL 2(b) HUH?
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2008 22:19:40 +0000 (UTC)
User-agent: nn/6.7.0

Hyman Rosen <> writes:

>Can you explain where the infringement is occurring? The user of
>HyProg has libGNU on his computer. The license of libGNU, the GPL,
>says "You may make, run and propagate covered works that you do
>not convey, without conditions so long as your license otherwise
>remains in force." When the user of HyProg activates it, and it
>causes libGNU to be copied into memory, that is an action allowed
>by the GPL because libGNU is not being conveyed.

You may have a good argument there, if the user already had libGNU, and
later acquired HyProg. Having once acquired libGNU legally, he should be
able to run any program that uses libGNU.

However, if HyProg is distributed in such a way that it causes many
users to download libGNU solely to run HyProg, then there is a
potentially winning argument that people downloading libGNU are in
effect acting as the HyProg author's agents, thus making HyProg's author
himself subject to the GPL.

This is all very hypothetical (though I'm sure Rjack will come up with
more out-of-context quotes to prove otherwise).

I think a court trying to rule in an unsettled area of law might well
pay attention to public policy considerations of the type that the CAFC
addressed in the JMRI case, i.e., how best to allow authors of GPL
software to achieve their goals within the letter and spirit of existing
copyright law.

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