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Re: A possible approach in "solving" the FDL problem

Jimmy Kaplowitz <jimmy@debian.org> writes:

> On Fri, Aug 15, 2003 at 12:25:26PM -0500, Branden Robinson wrote:
>> On Fri, Aug 15, 2003 at 01:09:09PM +0200, Sergey Spiridonov wrote:
>> > Wouter Verhelst wrote:
>> > >>Can you buy a closed proprietary code and than realease it under GPL?
>> > >
>> > >Yes. It probably depends on the amount of money you spend, and on what
>> > >exactly you buy, but it's very possible to do so...
>> > 
>> > Thank you Wouter.
>> That doesn't buy freedom, it buys a work.
> It can buy freedom, depending on "what exactly you buy," as Wouter said.
> Imagine that you buy the right to relicense the work under a license of
> your choosing. That would probably "[depend] on the amount of money you
> spend, [...] but it's very possible to do so," as Wouter said. Of
> course, the purchaser would also need to want to use the GPL for the new
> license....

That buys you a capability, not a freedom.  For example, I have
freedom with respect to this computer, which had a blank drive when I
acquired it.  I've since put all sorts of software on it without
giving up any freedoms -- it's running Debian with no non-free

I could pay money to Microsoft and gain the capability to install
Windows; I already have the freedom to install Windows (by paying some
money).  I could put some non-free software distributed by Debian on
here, giving me the capability to run that software... but I've
already got the freedom to run that software.

So no, buying closed proprietary code and releasing it under the GPL
(e.g., Blender) does not give me any freedoms I didn't have before.
It merely gives me technical capabilities I hadn't had before.
You can't give me freedom.  I've got it innately, unless I relinquish
it or it is taken from me by force.


Brian T. Sniffen                                        bts@alum.mit.edu

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