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Re: Combining proprietary code and GPL for in-house use

Raul Miller <moth@debian.org>:

> > The linking issue is a whole other matter. I am saying there that an 
> > end-user has, subject to and in compliance with the GPL license terms, a 
> > wide right to modify on the end-user's computer.
> I believe you're talking about fair use.
> Does fair use apply when 10000 users wind up with identical unlicensed
> copies of the same copyrighted work?

No, he is not talking about "fair use". He is, I think, talking about
two things:

(1) The idea that compiling and linking a program is not restricted by
copyright; you don't need special permission to compile and link a
program once you have obtained a copy of it. Compiling and linking
does involve making a local copy, but this is an unavoidable part of
using the program and you are not distributing it. Not everyone agrees
with this idea, but most people do, I think. You can compare this with
copying music from CD to tape for the purpose of listening to it in
places where you don't have a CD player, something which has been
looked at and allowed by a court in some country, IIRC. You can also
compare with the case of someone with poor eyesight who has to
photographically enlarge a printed text in order to read it, or
reading a text onto tape for the benefit of a blind person who has a
copy of the printed text. Also, there's web caching ...

(2) The way the GPL seems to support this idea:

  Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not
  covered by this License; they are outside its scope.  The act of
  running the Program is not restricted, and the output from the Program
  is covered only if its contents constitute a work based on the
  Program (independent of having been made by running the Program).
  Whether that is true depends on what the Program does.

(That quotation from the GPL was "fair use", by the way. I quoted a
small part of the work for the purpose of talking about it.)


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