Re: You can't get a copy unless you accept the GPL [was: Re: libkrb53 - odd license term]
Henning Makholm wrote:
An interesting question, however, is if you are knowingly causing the
computer(s) to copy a specific copyrighted work, considering that you
don't know what you're downloading until you've already done it.
When I download something, the copy is being made on a hard disk that
sits in a box below my desk. Current is being modulated and passed
through a coil, which causes an area of the disk surface to be made
into a copy of the work.
But that is actually irrelevant. The relevant part is that no matter
where you consider the copy to be "made", *I* am the one who is
causing the computers (my own and the server) to make a copy at that
particular time and place.
When I knowingly cause machines to make a copy for me, I am doing the
exact thing that copyright regulates.
As the RIAA lawsuits have shown, many entities consider the act of
downloading to be distribution of the work by the server, rather than
Under this interpretation, downloading a GPLed work is no different than
being given it on a CD; the owner of the server has accepted the GPL and
is distributing the software under its terms, while the owner of the
client computer need not accept the GPL unless he wants to. If he
doesn't, he may still use the software, just not copy or modify it.