Linked by David Adams on Wed 30th Nov 2011 20:23 UTC
Editorial A reader asks: "Can someone comment on the legality of using my brother's old Snow Leopard DVD to install OS X? My brother has Lion, so why can't he choose to give it to me? It doesn't violate Apple's 1 license per 1 computer policy."
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jabbotts
Member since:
2007-09-06

Um.. one does indeed have to agree to the GPL in the form of adhering to it's four granted freedoms do they not? If one modifies the code, compiles it distributes the binary and does not provide access to the modified source code they are breaking the agreement to adhere to the GPL. Specifically; infringing copyright by removing permissions which the license requires they pass down to the recipient of the derivitive work.

If what one wants a license inherently agreed to with no limitations then that would be a copy-center type license more like BSD, MIT or the DWTFPL ( http://sam.zoy.org/wtfpl/ ).

Reply Parent Score: 3

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Um.. one does indeed have to agree to the GPL in the form of adhering to it's four granted freedoms do they not? If one modifies the code, compiles it distributes the binary and does not provide access to the modified source code they are breaking the agreement to adhere to the GPL. Specifically; infringing copyright by removing permissions which the license requires they pass down to the recipient of the derivitive work.


Nope.

The GPL license grants everybody unconditional permission to obtain, install, optionally to modify, and to run the software which comes under that license.

The GPL license also grants conditional permission to copy and redistribute the software which comes under that license.

The conditional permissions are granted only if the conditions are met (which happens to be the very nature of a "condition", BTW). The unconditional permissions are granted regardless.

There is no agreement required from any recipient. Nothing to sign, no EULA agreement to agree to, nothing even to click on. All recipients get the unconditional permissions and, if they meet the conditions, they also get the conditional permissions, regardless if they "agree" or not.

Teacher: "Everyone has permission to go to the toilet if they want, but not to go to the playground unless they have handed up their assignment".

It doesn't matter if the students "agree", or not. Clear enough, wouldn't you say? Even ten-year-olds should be able to understand this.

If someone does modify the GPL-licensed code, compile it and then distribute the binary, and does not provide access to the modified source code, since they have not met the conditions of the GPL then they simply have no permission to do that. Copyright law insists that people who distribute copies of (or derivatives of) copyrighted works must first obtain permission from the original authors of the works.

It is all perfectly clear and straightforward. There is simply no "agreement" required. One doesn't need to have "agreed" to a law in order to be bound by it, nor does one need to "agree" to be given a permission that one wouldn't normally get. The granter of a permission gets total say over what conditions must be met before the permission is granted, the receiver of the permission does not get any opportunity to agree or disagree. Without permission, one doesn't have permission. Its a bleeding obvious statement on the face of it, in effect a non-sequitur.

The GPL is a license, a simple grant of permissions, some of which are granted conditionally. It is not a EULA, and it is not a contract.

Edited 2011-12-02 00:35 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

So, by meeting the conditions of the permissive license one is in-fact agreeing to the terms of the license then. It grants anyone the basic copy rights plus the additional rights (hence, the permissive license) only so long as they agree with and remain within the terms of the license.

Make no mistake, I'm not criticizing or questioning the GPL. I'm questioning the idea that one does not have to agree to the license. Agreement being in the form of acting within the stipulated limitations of the license.


Teacher: "Everyone has permission to go to the toilet if they want, but not to go to the playground unless they have handed up their assignment".

It doesn't matter if the students "agree", or not. Clear enough, wouldn't you say? Even ten-year-olds should be able to understand this.


The students demonstrate agreement by not going to the playground. The student who disagrees loudly would be told they can't go to the washroom. The student who disagrees quietly would try to sneak off to the playground under the guise of "going to the washroom" or would abuse the "going to the washroom" by hanging out there instead of on the playground.

An implicit agreement is still agreement even if it does not come with an EULA (Y)es radio button.

By using GPL or any other copy-left/copy-right licensed software one is implicitly agreeing to adhere to the permissive rights granted by the license. Otherwise, there would be no legal grounds for going after those who infringe copyright by going beyond the rights granted. Given that the GPL has been upheld in court against those who go beyond the given rights; it seems very clear that it does contain an agreement between licensee and the license holder.

A license requiring absolutely no agreement either documented or implied would be the previously mentioned copy-center type licenses that say "do whatever you like; use, modify, re-sell, re-brand or print out and eat with jam on toast."

Edited 2011-12-02 14:37 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 4