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Re: How to reratify the DFSG ?

I'm sorry to have to speak up on this; I just don't want to see such
misapprehensions spread too freely.

Marcus Brinkmann wrote:
>Please don't create confusion, there is already enough around this topic.
>The KDE people are the only one that can enforce the copyright. The
>copyright owner is in fact allowed to break the copyright, because there is
>no one who can sue him.

While your statement that the copyright owner is "the only one that can
enforce the copyright" may be true, the next sentence is wrong.  It seems
to be a common misconception, and demonstrates a basic misunderstanding
of the nature of copyright.

Whoever owns the copyright in a work (usually the work's author) is
effectively given, by the government, a monopoly on copying the work.
The important part of this is that the copyright owner can ALWAYS copy,
because he owns the copyright (the right to copy).  No-one ELSE may copy
without being licenced to do so by the copyright owner.  The copyright
owner needs no licence, because the copyright gives him the right to copy.

In light of the above, you should be able to see that it is, by
definition, not possible for the copyright owner to infringe his own
copyright.  It's not a question of there being "no one who can sue him",
or of being "allowed to break the copyright".

>I only have problems with the licence of qt-"free" enforcing the GPL on
>programs that use it, and I think that KDE people could *probably* sue other
>people distributing Qt linked KDE. Although I doubt that the latter would
>stand the court.

This is right, as I understand it.  The KDE situation is that the QT
licence (IIRC) allows you to distribute a program which uses QT if that
program is distributed under the terms of the GNU GPL.  The GPL says that
others may only distribute that (QT-based) program if all its components
are included (except system components), and all are licenced under the
terms of the GPL.  Unless QT is a system component, these are in conflict.
In theory, therefore, only the author of a GPLed, QT-based program would
be allowed to distribute it.

The argument runs that, if you distribute your own GPLed, QT-based
program, you are implicitly making an exception to the GPL to allow your
program to be linked with QT.  Thus, QT-based programs, ostensibly GPLed,
are actually only "nearly-GPLed".  This means that bits of "really-GPLed"
programs cannot be incorporated into QT-based "nearly-GPLed" programs
by anyone other than their author, because the author is the only one
who can introduce the necessary exception to the licence to allow that.

Hope this helps people understand the issues...

Charles Briscoe-Smith
White pages entry, with PGP key: <URL:http://alethea.ukc.ac.uk/wp?95cpb4>
PGP public keyprint: 74 68 AB 2E 1C 60 22 94  B8 21 2D 01 DE 66 13 E2

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