Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 25th Sep 2009 14:01 UTC
Legal In France, the GPL has scored yet another major win in court. What makes this infringements case special is that it was filed not by the developers of the infringed-upon code, but by users, demonstrating that they, too, can successfully enforce the GPL. Since I noted on a few threads here on OSNews that a lot of people still fail to grasp the difference between an open source license and an EULA, I figured I'd take this opportunity to explain the difference one more time - using hand-crafted diagrams!
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RE[2]: If you want it in one line
by IkeKrull on Mon 28th Sep 2009 20:19 UTC in reply to "RE: If you want it in one line"
IkeKrull
Member since:
2006-01-24

Yeah, but the GPL is... a usage and distribution license, and therefore, a civil contract. That's what you guys are missing. A violation of the GPL is not directly a violation of copyright: it is a violation of a license that is granting you the privilege of using (and copying and distributing) covered software.


Any distribution of GPLed software outside the GPLs stated terms is automatically a copyright violation.

The GPL doesn't purport to cover usage of software, and this is the key difference between a EULA and the GPL. The GPL relies solely and totally on copyright law for its scope and remedies - the GPL has no relevance, or application where copyright law would not otherwise apply.

An EULA purports to restrict your usage of the work, and not merely its distribution - aspects that copyright law and other statutes have limited applicability to.

The fact that it is possible to engage in usage of a work that is a violation of an EULA, that would be legal in the absence of the EULA is the key difference.

The GPL is different. If it would not be a copyright violation in the absence of the GPL, it is not a potential GPL violation, and if it is a GPL violation, it is a copyright violation. How much more direct can you get?

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