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From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: SFLC is SOL
Date: Tue, 04 May 2010 16:08:56 -0000
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.1.92 (gnu/linux)

RJack <> writes:

> Hyman Rosen wrote:
>> On 3/16/2010 11:42 AM, RJack wrote:
>>> GPLv2: "b) You must cause any work that you distribute or publish,
>>> that in whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or
>>> any part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all
>>> third parties under the terms of this License."
>>> Supreme Court: "[I]t goes without saying that a contract cannot
>>> bind a non-party".
>> The GPL sets conditions for acquiring permission to copy and
>> distribute a covered work. No non-parties are bound by the GPL unless
>> they choose to acquire the permissions offered by the GPL. This is
>> consistent with the quotes.
> That's a really brilliant tautology.
> "If I never use the GPL then the Supreme Court ruling doesn't apply"!
> Clever. Really clever.

You are getting this backwards.  The Supreme Court talks about
non-parties here.  If you, as recipient of software, don't make use of
the GPL, you are a non-party.  So the Supreme Court ruling concerning
non-parties _does_ apply, and you are not bound by the terms of the GPL.
If you, however, make use of the GPL, you become a party of the license
agreement.  In that case, the Supreme Court ruling concerning
non-parties does no longer apply, and you _are_, as a party, bound by
the license terms.

The difference between a contract and a license is that with a license,
you have the choice to be considered a party, or a non-party.

David Kastrup

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