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Re: [tlug] GPL Quote

葉潤 理男 writes:

 > >  > No, you can do whatever you want on your own machine (although some 
 > >  > EULAs would have you believe otherwise, DMCA notwithstanding).


 > On Fri, Dec 26, 2008 at 03:06:07PM +0900, Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:

 > > Giving misinformation on these points is not a friendly thing to do.
 > Of course I don't intend to mislead anyone. You've taken my original 
 > comment a bit out of context here (although it is admittedly vague) - 

The road to hell is paved with lack of bad intentions.  One of the
problems is that you are in a context where the leaders of the
community (I mean RMS among others) regularly engage in double talk.
It is very important to write accurately about these matters, because
misunderstanding is rampant in the community.

 > 'whatever you want' is talking about a GPL-ed application that you have 
 > obtained legitimately (as in the original post).

That's a possible interpretation, but then it leaves the clause about
EULAs without a subject.  I think that the only interpretation a
reasonable person could come up with regarding that clause is "EULAs
that attempt to restrict what you do with your own machine have no

 > > Also, some of the implied licenses can be revoked by explicit terms in 
 > > the EULA, others cannot.
 > Has this been tested in court? (Perhaps it has and EULAs are stronger 
 > than I thought).

I think you are thinking of some of the stronger implicit licenses.
I'm talking about ones that are weaker because they are most likely to
occur in a profit-making context.

My understanding is that unless the EULA says otherwise, you can
install copies of the software on a shared file system and use it on
any machine that can access that share, even though the vendor rarely
has that kind of use in mind when they sell shrink-wrapped software.
However, it is possible for a EULA to prohibit such sharing, and of
course many now do.

Similarly, as far as I know the prohibition of using fonts distributed
with Microsoft Word on a non-Windows OS on the same machine where
Windows is installed is enforceable, though I don't know of a court
test.  However, normally a court would say "you have a legitimate copy
of a font, you can use it to display text".  Note that fonts are a
special case, IP in fonts is weird in the U.S. (something about you
can't copyright glyphs but you can copyright a font<blink>).

 > > Copyright comes into play as soon as you do anything
 > > but try to run a binary or view source, since you can't do anything
 > > with software without making copies (eg, long-term media to RAM to
 > > cache to CPU).
 > What about compiling the source, or modifying the code? Of course you 
 > can't release either of those without a license, but on your own machine 
 > this comes under fair use.

I'm sorry, it does not.  You need permission to do both of those,
which the GPL grants.  Cf. the GPL itself (V2, but V3 has similar

  4. You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Program
     except as expressly provided under this License.  Any attempt
     otherwise to copy, modify, sublicense or distribute the Program is
     void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License.

  5. You are not required to accept this License, since you have not
     signed it.  However, nothing else grants you permission to modify or
     distribute the Program or its derivative works.  These actions are
     prohibited by law if you do not accept this License.

(Note that compiling is translation, which under U.S. copyright law is
considered a form of modification.)

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