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FSF takes on Apple's App Store over GPL

FSF takes on Apple's App Store over GPL

Posted Jun 10, 2010 11:10 UTC (Thu) by nye (guest, #51576)
Parent article: FSF takes on Apple's App Store over GPL

I don't understand this:

>Schlesinger and other commenters seem taken aback by the scope of the definition of "distributor," saying it would be ludicrous to hold Best Buy or other brick-and-mortar stores to the GPL if they sell boxed copies of free software

It seems rather that it would be ludicrous *not* to. Or are we saying that if you're a large corporation then copyright doesn't apply? If a shop started selling GPL software with additional restrictions imposed on the buyer, I would *absolutely* expect the copyright owner to take them to task on it.

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FSF takes on Apple's App Store over GPL

Posted Jun 10, 2010 14:20 UTC (Thu) by kirkengaard (guest, #15022) [Link]

Bingo. Likewise if Best Buy started selling proprietary software in violation of its license.

You've hit exactly the right point: nobody is exempt from copyright. This is why all of these arguments about the GPL being unenforceable seem idiotic to me. You comply with the license, which in most cases means you comply with the relevant sections of USC -- or whatever alternate license has been approved by the rights holder. Only the holder has a right to the software they create; rights are reserved by default. A selectively permissive copyright license is functionally no different, even though it makes other legal allowances and restrictions than the defaults. Nobody has a right to the code in any form otherwise, and I sincerely doubt any GPL enforcement case falls under a situation where a "resolution of necessity" would have been reasonable to justify appropriation and license violation. There's always an option: comply with our license for our software, comply with someone else's for their software, or write and license your own software.

FSF takes on Apple's App Store over GPL

Posted Jun 11, 2010 0:25 UTC (Fri) by giraffedata (subscriber, #1954) [Link]

You're missing something: You don't need a copyright license to give someone a copy; you need the license to make a copy. Best Buy is passing on copies that were made by the copyright owner, so doesn't need any license from the copyright owner. The copyright owner has no power to control Best Buy's sales.

With the app store, somebody's making copies. There seems to be some disagreement over who is doing that, but whoever it is needs a license from the FSF to do it. And ignorance is no excuse.

It gets a little fuzzy in the novel area of aiding and abetting infringement, which is why Apple or Best Buy would pull an illegally copied product even though they aren't violating any copyright: Their participation could be seen as encouraging the real copyright violator to violate.

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