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Re: US court says software is owned, not licensed

From: Nigel Feltham
Subject: Re: US court says software is owned, not licensed
Date: Sat, 10 Oct 2009 15:09:49 +0100
User-agent: KNode/0.8.2

Alexander Terekhov wrote:

> Nigel Feltham wrote:
> [...]
>> The only permission you have to make any extra copies of busybox is that
>> provided by the GPL in exchange for following it's rules which specify
>> that source has to be provided.
> But that's pure license/contract breach claim, not copyright
> infringement. Consider also

It's both - copying software without permission is a copyright infringement
and the only thing that gives you permission to do any copying of GPL
software that isn't provided as part of normal copyright law is the GPL
licence. If you breach the terms of the license then you no longer have
permission to distribute copies of the software (other than on media
provided by the copyright holder) so are infringing copyright law as well. 

This is the main reason companies who breach the terms of the GPL are
normally so quick to resolve the situation (where just letting customers
know where to get the source is enough) - until they comply with the
licence they are distributing copies of the software without permission of
the copyright holder and just giving customers a link to a sourcecode
website is far easier than risking ending up in a copyright infringement

This is also the main reason SCO chickened out of their attempt to
invalidate the GPL - they presumably realised that if the GPL is invalid
then they never had permission to distribute the code and had committed
mass piracy of every GPL licenced product they've ever distributed. Either
the licence is valid and they're complying with it's terms or they're
pirates, hard to argue that the licence doesn't exist under those

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