the right to make a difference

Sam Bull sam.hacking at
Fri Jun 3 10:02:17 UTC 2016

On Thu, 2016-06-02 at 20:39 +0200, Xen wrote:
> > 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.
> This is because that other person would not have the rights to the 
> original material. It is not because the original authors would not
> have the rights to the new material.

Correct, and GPL'd software is no different, it is protected under the
same copyright laws. You still do not have rights to the original
software, it has copyright ownership just like the proprietary
software. Even if you are releasing GPL'd derivatives, the copyright is
not owned by the original author, it is simply that redistribution is
subject to the conditions of the license (otherwise the original author
could use your changes to create a proprietary version).

The thing you seem to be failing to grasp is that this software is NOT
in the public domain, nor is it under a CC 0 type license. If you
consider public domain to be anything can be done with a work, and full
rights reserved allows you no rights. You should default to full rights
reserved, then these authors have explicitly given you some additional
rights under a set of conditions.

> That is an illusion you make up. You can download a copy without 
> accepting the license.

If you have not seen and accepted a license, then you must consider the
work you received to be full rights reserved, this is no different to
proprietary software. Copyright law states that any work is full rights
reserved by default, if you have not seen a license or anything to
suggest you have more rights, then why do you suddenly think you have
all the rights to someone else's work?
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