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GPL 2c - restricts changes to non-distributed modifications

> > > It's the "modification" that is covered, and you're not allowed to
> > > modify in such a way as to remove a copyright notice that is normally
> > > displayed on startup.
> > 
> On Tue, Mar 04, 2003 at 01:37:10PM -0500, Don Armstrong wrote:
> > You are allowed to modify the code to remove the copyright notice, but
> > you are not allowed to distribute code that contains such a
> > modification. [2a-c only applies to distribution of modifications.

This is how I'd always read it too - the restrictions in section two 
applied only to copying and distribution of modified copies.  However, 
reading some mails in this thread more closely made me realize that some 
number of folks, including an FSF representative, believe that the GPL 
restricts modifying the software even if the result isn't distributed.

On Wed, 5 Mar 2003, Nick Phillips wrote:
> I'm inclined to disagree with you, and agree with Dave Turner on that one
> (which is the point I was making).
> I do however agree that the wording of the intro to 2 is not perfect, and
> could be interpreted in either way. I agree with Dave, however, that 2b's
> explicit mention of distribution and publishing would tend to support our
> view.

I've always assumed (heh) that I had an absolute right to modify a work 
which I'd legally acquired, and the only restrictions copyright placed on 
me was distribution (or performance, in some cases) of that modified work.

Hearing differently from an FSF representative surprised me a whole lot.  
I haven't fully come to grips with what this means WRT my opinion about 
the GPL. 

> Consideration of the scenario of use of a modified but undistributed version
> of a program within the modifying organisation would also lead one to
> conclude that our interpretation of 2 as a whole is desirable, and likely
> to be the intention of the license's author(s).

Desirable to whom?  It's sounding less free by a long shot than the 
"copyright law covers only distribution" interpretation.
Mark Rafn    dagon@dagon.net    <http://www.dagon.net/>  

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