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Re: GPL traitor !

From: Tim Smith
Subject: Re: GPL traitor !
Date: Fri, 08 May 2009 10:44:48 -0700
User-agent: MT-NewsWatcher/3.5.3b2 (Intel Mac OS X)

In article <85d4ajj046.fsf@lola.goethe.zz>, David Kastrup <> 
> What is covered is a matter of copyright law.  Which is the case with
> any software license or contract.  Getting copyright law right is hard
> and a moving overly complex target, different in different countries.
> But that's hardly a fault with the GPL, let alone the FSF.

Exactly--and that's why the very first question to be asked when 
considering whether you can or cannot do something with a given blob of 
GPL code is *not* "what does GPL say?", but rather "does it matter what 
GPL says?".

That's also the very first question to ask when dealing with non-GPL 
code, whether it is under a pure copyright license, or a contract 
(assuming GPL is not a contract).

In fact, that's also the first question to ask when dealing with a 
contract that has nothing to do with code--one of the first lessons in 
my contracts class in law school was to make sure the contract applies 
before you spend a lot of time analyzing the details of the contract.  
Many a contract professor has put a problem on their final exam with a 
complex contract and a fact pattern that doesn't actually fall under the 
contract, and many a student has wasted a lot of valuable time writing 
up a long analysis of that contract, instead of writing the correct 
answer: "the contract is not applicable".

--Tim Smith

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