The "Death Penalty"...
Posted Mar 24, 2012 20:20 UTC (Sat) by rqosa
In reply to: The "Death Penalty"...
Parent article: Enforcing the GPL with Judo moves (The H)
> If your violated the GPL (and thus forfeited your rights under it)
…then the software in question is effectively (for you) under "all rights reserved" conditions. And, like I said here, §117 applies to all programs regardless of license terms, even to ones under "all rights reserved" conditions.
> and then later you downloaded copy from another server then you are not rightful owner (that particular copy was made without permission)
That depends on who made the copy. In the case of downloads, I believe that it's the owner of the download server who is the one who made the copy, not the person who downloaded it. (ISTR that the EFF has made a similar argument about pirated music, saying that the only people guilty of copyright infringement in that situation are the owners of the network host(s) from which the files were downloaded/uploaded.) Therefore, the copy was made with permission, because the server owner (who obeys the terms of the GPL) has permission to make copies and distribute them.
> Owner has a right to send copy to you, yet you have no right to copy it on your HDD.
According to §117, you do have the right to do exactly that, even in the most restrictive case (i.e. when the software's copyright license terms are "all rights reserved" or no license at all).
> This is most defenitely not a ephemeral copy or anything like that.
It falls under either case 1 ("a new copy […] created as an essential step in the utilization of the computer program" — e.g. extracting files from a package archive, like what happens when when you run "dpkg -i some_package.deb") or case 2 ("new copy […] for archival purposes only" — e.g.
when aptitude saves a downloaded package file to the /var/cache/apt/archives directory) of §117. Therefore, you can legally do this without permission from the copyright holder.
> If you read it from cover to cover? Yes, it's probably copyright violation
Again, I won't believe that unless you cite evidence supporting that assertion. It was not the original intended purpose of copyright to make it illegal to read a book without permission from its author — rather, the purpose was to make it illegal to print more copies of the book without permission from its author.
> > As I said above, those are the opposite of what "IP-Maximalists" would like the law to be.
> Not exactly.
Why not? I can just imagine that the BSA would love to get rid of §117 and then establish legal precedent that the act of making an in-memory ephemeral copy of a program in order to run it does require permission from the copyright holder (contrary to §117's explicit exemption).
> For example it's illegal to download and use program without an appropriate license.
That isn't illegal in and of itself. For example, consider this scenario: I am the copyright holder of a program, I put it on my public website together with a copyright notice saying "all rights reserved", and then people download it and run it. Those people have no explicit permission from me to do that (because it's "all rights reserved"), but according to §117, they don't need any. But if they then put the program up on their own servers for others to download, I can sue them for copyright infringement.
(And this isn't just a theoretical scenario either, because there are certain pieces of "freeware" which are distributed in this way. For example, "The ROMs on these pages have been approved for free distribution on this site only. Just because they are available here for download does not entitle you to put them on your own site".)
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