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Re: Artifex v. Diebold: "The GPL is non-commercial!"

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: Artifex v. Diebold: "The GPL is non-commercial!"
Date: Mon, 01 Dec 2008 19:41:40 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.0.60 (gnu/linux)

Alexander Terekhov <> writes:

> Hyman Rosen wrote:
>> Alexander Terekhov wrote:
>> > What does that ("honoring the terms of the GPL for standalone
>> > Ghostscript") have to do with the copyright law, Hyman?
>>  > The GPL is not the copyright law, don't you agree with that, Hyman?
>> Copyright law forbids Diebold from making copies of Ghostscript
>> and distributing them. In order to do so legally, they must have
>> permission from the copyright holder. That permission comes either
>   ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>> from the GPL or from a separate license agreement with Artifex.
>                ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> "or from a separate license agreement with Artifex."
> Hyman, Hyman. 
> itself states:
> "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."
> "nothing else grants you permission"
> "nothing else grants you permission"
> "nothing else grants you permission"
> Ha, ha.

I suppose you really must be as dense as you appear if you harp like
that on this sentence.  It does not mean "nothing and nobody else can
possibly grant you permission".  It means "If this license is all you
have, the way to get permission is to accept this license".

It is not like the GPL does not spell this out:

5c) [...]   This License gives no
    permission to license the work in any other way, but it does not
    invalidate such permission if you have separately received it.

> I’ve been happy using GPL’d products. But I will not treat this
> license as something it isn’t. That is, a doctrine on freedoms.

It certainly is not a "doctrine".  It is, if you want so, the outcome of

> A license is a license, and by definition all licenses carry
> restrictions. The GPL carries a particularly ridiculous combination of
> doctrine, philosphy, and law.

It has a preamble.  That is not unusual for legal documents.

> Sounds like religion to me…
> “The licenses for most software and other practical works are designed
> to take away your freedom to share and change the works”
> The GPL does exactly the same, in that developers have to release
> every bit of derived or modified code under GPL or face legal
> action. That is a restriction placed upon the developers and
> distributors.

So what?  The laws of your countries prohibit theft and murder, thus
restricting the things law-abiding citizens may do to each other.
That's not usually considered a violation of human rights.  Because
exercising those possibilities is to the detriment of others.

The rest of the treatise is the same kind of bull: it is whining that
the recipient may not do what he wants in order to have, in the end, the
possibility to restrict what the end user may do with the product,
beyond the restrictions of the GPL itself.

In short, he demands the freedom to facilitate the propagation of
non-freedom.  The GPL does not grant this freedom, and for good reason.
That's its main point.

Writing dozens of enfuriated paragraphs about that does not show much
more than that you don't have a clue.  It's like complaining that coffee
is hot or a refrigerator is cold.  That's not an unfortunate
side-effect.  It is the main purpose.  "This refrigerator would be
perfect if it were not cold" is just stupid.  If you want a hamster
cage, don't use a refrigerator.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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