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Re: Copying and distributing Debian

On Mon, Aug 12, 2002 at 10:11:50PM -0400, Phil Beder wrote:
> 3.  Someone raise the point that recently, users of  open source /
> Free Software  have the reputation of being software pirates, and that
> this sort of open exchange at public meetings might look bad or be
> counter productive to the goals of the FSF, the GNU project, or the
> GPL.  Could you give your opinion on this

This point deserves to be further clarified.

	First, please do not say "piracy" since that does not convey the
proper meaning.  Due to historical artifacts, what you really mean is
"copyright infringement" and not "looting and pillaging on the high
seas" nor "publishers exploiting authors."  (Note the irony in the
second usage as compared to the modern one.)

	The Free Software movement has condemned copyright infringement.
Don't infringe on other people's copyrights!  Don't!  It would be
hypocritical to do so.  Think about it this way: how are we to expect
other people to respect our copyrights and licenses (the GNU GPL and the
GNU LGPL) if we do not respect theirs?

	Now, the nice thing about Free Software licenses is that they
relax copyright restrictions, such that you can do more with the
software without infringing.  For example, with the GNU GPL, you are
allowed to modify, distribute, and distribute modifications under
certain conditions.  Under traditional copyright, you do not have these
rights.  So it is not "piracy" when you redistribute Free Software---you
are not infringing on copyright, not breaking the law, and definitely
not hoarding software.

	For more information, I would suggest reading
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/ and http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/ 


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