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Re: Bug#317359: kde: ..3'rd "Help"->"About $KDE-app" tab calls th e GPL "License Agreement", ie; a contract.

On Thursday 14 July 2005 11:56 am, Humberto Massa Guimarães wrote:
> He affirmed that one has to agree to the GPL to possess a copy of a
> GPL'd program. 

WHAT?!  No, never.  Possession is not the issue, the issue is copying.  And I 
am not convinced that making an FTP connection and downloading the material 
from a licensed distributor does not constitute copying, thus requiring 
permission.  It is an interesting legal argument...  could be true, but it 
could also NOT be true.  I'm really not sure.  Can you CITE something?

Here's the way I'm thinking about it.  Apple has a license agreement with Sony 
to distribute music.  Apple can make as many copies as it wants under the 
agreement and distribute it to whomever and charge whatever it wants 
(including give it away for free).  An Apple technician puts a copy of TMBG's 
"Man, It's Loud in Here" on a server, but fails to place the appropriate 
password protection on the server.  I come along, discover this song is 
available for one and all, and download a copy.  I agree to nothing in the 
process.  Apple later discovers its mistake, removes the song, and threatens 
to sue me.  What claims can it make?

The obvious answer is conversion...  but is there a copyright violation here?  
Strikes me that I have made an unauthorized copy, denied someone their 
ability to profit from their works.  I smell statutory damages.

Someone a while back mentioned first sale...  which is an interesting place to 
go.  Is the idea that every apt-get I do is actually a series of first sale 
transactions where the consideration is nothing?  That would probably work, 
other than the fact that it leaves Debian in the unique position to revoke 
all of the first sale agreements because its not binding without some form of 


But I'd really like to return to the question that got us all started.  Is 
calling the GPL a "License Agreement" a bug?  Apparently my "you have to 
agree to the GPL anyway" theory has gotten people all worked up...  so, 
obviously that's not going to convince anyone on this list.  So can someone 
explain to me why its NOT a license agreement?  Do you not in fact have to 
agree to the GPL if you intend to use the rights under the GPL?


Sean Kellogg
3rd Year - University of Washington School of Law
Graduate & Professional Student Senate Treasurer
UW Service & Activities Committee Interim Chair 
w: http://probonogeek.blogspot.com

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 ...Jump in
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