BusyBox and the GPL Prevail Again (Groklaw)
Posted Aug 11, 2010 9:30 UTC (Wed) by Trelane
In reply to: BusyBox and the GPL Prevail Again (Groklaw)
Parent article: BusyBox and the GPL Prevail Again (Groklaw)
Copyright violation and theft are completely unrelated.
I really do not understand what you are trying to say...
OK. But for me,
Copyright violation deprives the *copyright owner* of the *value* of the thing you stole.
It depends on what you call "value." Your software has the same or more of an impact on humanity if copyright law weren't restricting its copying. Your reputation in the world may be magnified if people copy your software willy-nilly.
You can still charge the same amount of money using the government-provided copyright limited-time monopoly on your creation (which is provided in exchange for creating more stuff; if a creator freeloads and charges the same price, perhaps he/she should be accused of "theft" using the same logic?). However, due to copyright infringement, some number of people who would have otherwise paid may not pay and still receive the work. Some number who would otherwise have paid may not pay and not receive your work. Some people wouldn't have paid regardless. (and then others would and wouldn't have paid for receiving/not receiving the work at various price points!) The number you're concerned with--the number who would have paid but did not and still get the work--is inherently unknowable (knowing for certain would require knowing alternate universes where they didn't infringe on your limited-time copyright monopoly) although it may be estimable.
For instance, I would still call stealing "using money from someone else bank account without his authorisation" - even if the guy can still use the bank account after, wouldn't you?
This is a bad analogy. The money taken from the account is gone, and that is the theft. There would likely be additional charges for other crimes (breaking into their account, fraud, etc.).
Even when not talking of money like for GPL
The GPL has nothing to say about money. You can use the GPL on software you charge for.
the work of the copyright owner has some value which has to be "paid for" by giving back something.
No. The government grants the creator a limited-time monopoly on copying their creative works (i.e. removes the citizens' natural right of copying an idea or intellectual work) in exchange for the creator using the monopoly to create more works. Specifically,
The Congress shall have Power ... To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries
(U.S. constitution, cited on http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92preface.html; Purpose has been bolded; means have been italicized.)
Maybe I should not use "paid for" and "stealing" for non physical objects, maybe ther are better terms.
The term for infringing on copyright is "copyright infringement". The term for infringing on a patent is "patent infringement." I'd agree, though, that a creative work can be "paid for" and "unpaid".
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