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Re: GPL-licensed packages with depend-chain to OpenSSL

On Fri, Sep 10, 2004 at 02:46:52PM -0700, Steve Langasek wrote:
> Why?  The plain-English meaning of the phrase "accompanies the
> executable" would imply no such thing, and would in fact appear to be
> contrary to the intent of this part of the license.

Under copyright law, the precise details of how the copy arrives doesn't
matter.  What matters is that the copy arrives.  If many people are
getting copies of some work then that's a copyright issue.

If more than one person is involved in making those copies the individuals
who contributed towards making those copies can still be nailed for
contributory infringement.

If the law excused cases where some of the bits arrived on a different
cdrom or a on different day, or encoding using a different algorithm or
any such thing if for some systematic reason that's all sorted out for the
user, then all you'd have to do is break any work down into individual
bits (or small groups of them, as fair use allows), transmit those bits
separately (using whatever this delivery mechanism is, that gets around
copyright) and presto -- that work is no longer protected by copyright.

In other words, when talking about "distribution" in the context of copy
you have to be talking about the copy that gets distributed, not just
the technical details of how the distribution works.

At least... that's the way it works in the U.S.  I don't know about
other countries.

Now, ok, if even though you're distributing Emacs linked against OpenSSL,
no one is winding up with copies of Emacs + OpenSSL, that wouldn't
be infringing.  But that's kind of like driving off a cliff without
hitting the ground (possible, but not the typical case).


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