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Re: Questions about legal theory behind (L)GPL

On Mon, 10 Jan 2005 16:11:21 -0800 Michael K. Edwards wrote:

> On Mon, 10 Jan 2005 23:41:16 +0100, Francesco Poli
> <frx@firenze.linux.it> wrote:
> > On Mon, 10 Jan 2005 10:32:02 -0800 Michael K. Edwards wrote:
> > 
> > > The GPL purports to bind the licensor to issue a perpetual
> > > (barring breach) license to copy, sublicense, etc.
> >                                     ^^^^^^^^^^
> > 
> > I don't see where the GPL permits me to sublicense...
> I think it's implicit in granting the right to distribute a modified
> work, since that usually requires permission from the copyright holder
> on the original work even if one is already licensed to copy and
> distribute the original.

But that is not what "sublicensing" means, at least AFAIK.
In my understanding "sublicensing" means redistributing under a
different license, and that is what a copyleft license is supposed to
not allow...
If I'm wrong, then someone please explain me what's the meaning of

> > I'm not convinced by your arguments: I still can't see where the
> > licensor is bound to do something.
> > 
> > Suppose Jessica F. Hacker wrote a program and followed the
> > instructrions she found at the end of the GPLv2 text.
> > Then she uploaded the source tarball to Savannah and disappeared (in
> > the sense that nobody ever heard of her anymore).
> > What are her obligations? I fail to see any...
> She has issued a promise not to pursue a copyright infringement claim
> (that's what a copyright license is, basically, at least in the case
> law I've read).

I'm really surprised by your definition: in my understanding, a
copyright license is a permission to perform copyright-restricted

Quoting from  http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html#wci

| Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of
| copyright the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the
| following:                              ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
[list of restricted operations follows]

And (after a "dict license"):

| From WordNet (r) 2.0 [wn]:
|   license
|        n 1: a legal document giving official permission to do
|        something [syn: {licence}, {permit}]

In general, a "license" is a "permission", not a "promise not to punish
forbidden actions"...

> It's not like I'm making this stuff up.  The law on copyright could
> have been different, given a different history; and for all I know, it
> may be different in Italy.

I do not think Italian "diritto d'autore" and U.S. copyright laws differ
in a significant manner, as long as what we are now discussing is
I mean: there *are* differences (such as moral rights...), but they do
not have significant influence on the answer of the question "what is a
copyright license?".

          Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.
  Francesco Poli                             GnuPG Key ID = DD6DFCF4
 Key fingerprint = C979 F34B 27CE 5CD8 DC12  31B5 78F4 279B DD6D FCF4

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