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Re: A newbie's confusion about GPL

On Tue, Oct 21, 2003 at 09:17:13AM -0400, Aaron wrote:
> Tom <tb.31009.nospam@comcast.net> said,
> > On Sat, Oct 18, 2003 at 10:34:52PM +0800, Dasn Cups wrote:
> > > Hi, all.
> > > I know little about License...:)
> > > 
> > > If I use GNU's source code in my project but don't open my source, who will
> > > punish me? 
> > > 
> > 
> > Nobody, as long as you don't give it to anyone.
> > 
> I have a question, too. What if you adapt the code, for example porting
> some functionality into a different language such that the syntax is
> different, but the results are the same? Is that protected by the
> license as well, or is that an acceptable derivation?

I expect if you use an autogen tool to do it, it's a violation, but if 
you do it by hand that's the same as copying look and feel, which the 
courts (such as in Apple v. Microsoft) have stated is okay.

> Also, what constitutes "distribution"? If it is a web-based system
> wherein the functionality is distributed through access to the site but
> the source code package itself isn't distributed, does the license
> compel the author to offer the source code?
> IANAL, so I'm just curious.

My intitutive understanding would be any time it passes between two 
legally-defined persons.  (A corporation is a single-legally defined 
person.)  I don't know what the precedent for letting onsite contractors 
use licensed software.

To be honest, nothing means jack shit until it's been litigated and 
there are precedents.  I do not have high hopes of judges enforcing the 
GPL when it is really tested.  As Frank Zappa said: "In the fight 
between you versus the world, back the world."

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