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Re: OpenCascade license opinion

John Halton wrote:
> On 21/12/2007, Arnoud Engelfriet <arnoud@engelfriet.net> wrote:
> > If the copyright holder makes a program available for download
> > (or permits someone else to do so), then I would say that anyone who
> > downloads the work is a "lawful acquirer" and therefore may execute
> > the work without bothering with the license.
> I'm not sure I agree with that as a blanket statement. The problem is
> defining "lawful acquirer", a term originating from a (largely)
> pre-downloading era. 

True. In my view it does seem to be the intent - someone makes 
his own software available, and another person acquires a copy.
Whether it's a free CD, a box bought in the store or a download
from a site somewhere shouldn't make a difference. You acquire it,
so you can use it. 

> directive here, but it seems more likely that the term "lawful
> acquirer" was always intended to mean "someone who acquires the
> software in such a way that they have the right to use it".

Well, if a lawful acquirer is someone who has a right to use it,
why would the Directive need to spell out they have the right to use it?
By saying that a lawful acquirer can load & execute the software,
my reading is that the clause grants them some kind of permission.

> And the recitals to the directive emphasise that this is a "limited
> exception" to "allow the reproduction technically necessary for the
> use of that program by the lawful acquirer". 

Yes, it's a very limited exception. You need to first get the software
lawfully. Buy the box, get the CD for free or indeed download from
the author's site. Things like that. And then you can only make the
technically necessary copies. I would hope that that covers installation
on a harddisk and executing the installed copy.

It most certainly does not cover redistribution in any way, shape or form.

> > In other words, in Europe I can download and use any GPL software
> > even when I explicitly refuse to accept the GPL.
> For the reasons outlined above, I don't think it is as clear as that.
> It probably doesn't make a great deal of practical difference anyway,
> given that the GPL allows unrestricted use and modification in the
> absence of distribution/conveying. If you want to distribute/convey
> the software then you can only do so under the GPL.

The practical difference is that the GPL introduces several additional
terms that I have to agree with. The exclusion of liability, for one.


Arnoud Engelfriet, Dutch & European patent attorney - Speaking only for myself
Patents, copyright and IPR explained for techies: http://www.iusmentis.com/
              Arnoud blogt nu ook: http://blog.iusmentis.com/

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