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Re: Is this a free license?

Edmund GRIMLEY EVANS <edmundo@rano.org> writes:

> Thomas Bushnell, BSG <tb@becket.net>:
> > Microsoft takes a bunch away, with the case of qmail, you *didn't*
> > purchase anything, and you have no rights to copy *anything*--to even
> > *get* the first copy--except under the terms of the license.
> Do all download sites force you to read the licence before you
> download the tarball? If not, I would guess that by default you do
> have the right to download the tarball and do what you want with it in
> private.
> Arguing from common sense here, consider the case of someone who knows
> C but doesn't know English. It would seem very unfair for them to be
> punished merely for downloading the tar ball, editing the code,
> compiling it and running it.

If that's true, then we might as well go home, the GPL is then

But actually, the law says that if they have no information, then they
should assume that they have *no* right to download the tarball.

> Are you saying that payment changes the situation here?

It establishes that the provider of the copy really wanted to provide
it.  An explicit gift would do as well.

> 1) I download a file from an ftp site without being asked to agree to
> anything first.

Yes, but not without copying, and the copyright owner still has
copyright, and you are breaking it.

> 2) Someone puts a CD through my door or hands one to me at random on
> the street.
> 3) I buy a CD.

Case 2 and 3 have the same results; you didn't copy anything, and you
legally obtained the copy you do have.

> Thomas Bushnell, BSG <tb@becket.net>:
> > I would note that patch files for software are generally thought to be
> > derivative works, and so I don't see any basis for his claim that they
> > are not.
> If I make a list of errata for someone else's book, am I infringing? I
> hope not.

Why?  Who cares if you are?  You think they are going to punish you?
I tap my roommate on the shoulder all the time.  And--omigod--that
might be assault?!  Yes, indeed.  But so what.  Is he going to prefer
charges?  No.

> I agree that if the patch is part of a script whose purpose is to
> create modified binaries of a program whose author has specifically
> disallowed modified binaries then that is potentially a problem, but
> if the patch file is distributed for research purposes I would hope
> that would be all right.

"research purposes" have to be real.  The court will ask what your
research is, and if it amounts to a smokescreen for the illegal
copying, the court will be quite annoyed at the dishonesty...

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