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Re: software licensing


Hamish Moffatt <hamish@debian.org> writes:
> I do not think that the employee has been "given" the code. Rather,
> they have been given access to use it. If my employer provides
> some proprietary software for my use, I haven't been given the software
> at all -- I don't think it should be any different for GPL.

But you *do* have possession of a copy of the proprietary software; if
you didn't, there wouldn't be anything there to run.  Presumably your
employer was given the right to that copy by its owner, either by
virtue of buying it on its own media or by paying a license fee.

Most proprietary software vendors would take a dim view of employers
who make copies without following this procedure, and the law usually
backs them up.  Free software is no different under the law than
proprietary software; only the licensing terms are different.  If a
business can violate the GPL this way, why can't the do the same with,
say, a Microsoft license?

(Of course, in the real world, businesses *do* violate licenses all
the time.  I just don't think it somehow becomes okay just because the
software is free instead of proprietary.)

- --Rob

- -- 
Rob Tillotson  N9MTB  <robt@debian.org>

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