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Re: Questions about legal theory behind (L)GPL

On Thu, Jan 06, 2005 at 05:19:04PM -0800, Michael K. Edwards wrote:
> The only form in which the GPL can be read as requiring any conduct
> from licensees (such as the provision of copies of source code on
> demand and the extension of the GPL to the licensee's copyright in
> derived works) is as an offer of (bilateral) contract, duly accepted
> by the licensee, in return for valid consideration.  If anyone can
> cite legal precedent to the contrary, now would be a good time to
> mention it; licensing@fsf.org doesn't seem to have any to offer.

While there are elements of this argument which are jurisdictional in
nature, it's false for many jurisdictions.

More specifically, the GPL doesn't impose any restrictions on the actions
of the copyright holder.  You'd have to conflate "copies of the program"
with "the copyright holder" to imagine that the GPL had anything to say
about what the copyright holder will do.

At the point which someone else has received a legal copy of some GPLed
software, they have received all the GPL rights.  No further action
is required on the part of the copyright holder, unless it's something
built into the copyright law for the jurisdiction in question.


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