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Re: Artifex v. Diebold: "The GPL is non-commercial!"

From: Hyman Rosen
Subject: Re: Artifex v. Diebold: "The GPL is non-commercial!"
Date: Mon, 09 Feb 2009 09:13:34 -0500
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20081209)

amicus_curious wrote:
What part of 17 USC 109 did you miss?  That holds for the USofA
> and as far as I know it is followed in most other countries.

Just a reminder to everyone  - copyright law is an arbitrary and
capricious set of rules made up by people with vested interests.
You should not expect logic and consistency to carry the day.
For example, here's what used to be part of the law in the US:

    ยง 601. Manufacture, importation, and public distribution of
    certain copies
    (a) Prior to July 1, 1986, and except as provided by
    subsection (b), the importation into or public distribution
    in the United States of copies of a work consisting
    preponderantly of nondramatic literary material that is in
    the English language and is protected under this title is
    prohibited unless the portions consisting of such material
    have been manufactured in the United States or Canada.

The subsection (b) exclusions are even more weird - read it for
yourself. What was this about? Publishers didn't want booksellers
to be able to import English books published in the U.K. to the
U.S., like the movie studios who use region-coded DVDs, and got
the law to prohibit it.

What this means for free software is that should there be a high
enough profile dispute, you can expect lawmakers to get involved
and to carve out some special language to cover it. Which way, I
wouldn't venture to guess. Think about the net neutrality fights
as an example.

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