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Re: the GPL is a license not a contract ..

From: amicus_curious
Subject: Re: the GPL is a license not a contract ..
Date: Tue, 10 Mar 2009 13:05:32 -0400

"Doug Mentohl" <> wrote in message news:gp60h2$isp$
Rjack wrote:

The great debate on the software blogs about TomTom violating the GPL is sheer nonsense of the same caliber as Eben Moglen's nonsense about a copyright license not being a contract.

'The GPL only obliges you if you distribute software made from GPL'd code, and only needs to be accepted when redistribution occurs'

'If this argument were valid, no copyright license could permit a licensee to make multiple copies of a licensed program. That would make not just the GPL "illegal": Heise's supposed theory would also invalidate the BSD, Apache, AFL, OSL, MIT/X11, and all other free software licenses'

The GPL, however, is a true copyright license: a unilateral permission, in which no obligations are reciprocally required by the licensor. Copyright holders of computer programs are given, by the Copyright Act, exclusive right to copy, modify and redistribute their programs. The GPL, reduced to its essence, says:

'You may copy, modify and redistribute this software, whether modified or unmodified, freely. But if you redistribute it, in modified or unmodified form, your permission extends only to distribution under the terms of this license. If you violate the terms of this license, all permission is withdrawn.'

That is easy for him to SAY, but he also freely admits "I'm the only lawyer on earth who can say this, I suppose..." which makes him a very small part of all the lawyers and judges who might have their own say.

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