the right to make a difference

Sam Bull sam.hacking at
Thu Jun 2 14:33:59 UTC 2016

On Thu, 2016-06-02 at 14:35 +0200, Xen wrote:
> The intention of the GPL is not really relevant.
> What happens is that the authors remain to have a say about how the 
> product is used, if copyright is at play (at least the idea of 
> copyright).

Yes, and the authors stated they require you to allow redistribution of
any modifications under the same conditions of the GPL.

> Now in actual effect that is what would happen. The person doing the 
> work would see his livelihood taken away by "thieves" and his added 
> value would cease to be any added value; as such the whole idea and 
> reason for copyright would cease to exist; it is contradictory in
> terms.

This exactly has happened many times. If you take a proprietary piece
of software, make changes and resell it (breaking the license agreement
you received it under), then the original authors are perfectly in
their rights to take away their livelihood, and this is no different
with an GPL'd piece of software.

> Does the owner of the road also own the car?

No, but he gets to decide what cars to allow on the road, and under
what conditions they are allowed.

> > Saying that nothing is owed and that there is no agreement, would
> > suggest that after buying a proprietary piece of software, I can
> > now
> > modify it and resell it to other people, despite this being against
> > the
> > intention of the author.
> Nothing monetary is owed, and therefore not any amount of work
> either. 
> After all, in any such agreement, it would not depend on whether the 
> work was actually done, you cannot in advance claim possession of
> all 
> work done by anyone.

Nobody is saying any amount of work is owed. But, any work done, is
subject to the restrictions of the license.

> The taking of all work for all eternity is simply a form of hostage 
> taking. That is like saying you sign a license deal with a record 
> company, but the license states that you can never go to another
> company 
> ever after; you are bound to it for all eternity.

No it's like saying you sign a deal with a record company, who take
copyright of the songs you produce while there. After leaving the
record company, you can't re-publish your old songs, or use them as the
basis to create new songs, without permission from the record company.
That is how copyright works.

> So what is saying you should have access to the work? Well everyone
> has, doesn't it?

No, anyone who has accepted the license and chosen to download the code
has access. It's not like you picked up an apple from a public tree.

> I just don't think "the GPL should be enforced" follows from what
> you 
> say. That should or would only follow if you consider the GPL holy
> in 
> any sense. In actual copyright law, the /more/ changes something
> has, 
> the /more/ it is an original work, or substantial work, and the more 
> substantial your changes, you have more access to a copyright of
> your 
> own. And the more value it adds, the less it will be seen just as a 
> copy, or modification. It will be seen as an addition.

Just because you have copyright on your own changes, doesn't change the
conditions of the original work, unless it is such a small amount that
it can be considered fair use.

> and pretty much "public domain or at least common infrastructure" 

So, anybody that has access to Windows or Word, they are allowed to
redistribute and resell copies? Because, they must be also be big
enough to be considered "public domain or at least common

Ultimately, it seems to me, that most of your arguments are arguing
that copyright law doesn't exist at all. It seems you are telling me,
that as soon as someone has a copy of any piece of work, they are free
to do anything they want with it.

So, what do you think copyright is?

p.s. Please try to keep replies a little shorter than an entire essay,
otherwise they will never be read in full.
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