On Sun, 12 Feb 2006 09:22:38 -0600
Isaac <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:

> I'm not sure whether I agree that you have to own a copy of GPL
> software to be a licensee

You can indeed obtain a license from the copyright holder without
owning a copy. A license is an agreement between two parties, and I
believe that quite often Microsoft Volume licensing deals do not
include copies of the software. 

In order to make further copies, or to prepare a derivative work, you
need to have a lawful copy of the GPLed work. In the case of widely
available GPLed works, in practice it doesn't matter how you obtained a
copy (as you can only be sued for breach of copyright by the copyright
holder, the fact that the original copy wasn't lawful doesn't really
matter). There is also no reason for an employee to make copies as the
original is widely available. 

I believe the OP must have had the following in mind "software wants
to be free"). A GPLed work was modified by an employer to suit their
business, but they don't intend to release it. The fact that were it to
be released, it would have to be under the GPL, doesn't give employees
the right to appropriate a copy because they using a copy of that
software on their company computer.

The assertion that the GPL gives you the right to make unlawful copies
is obviously incorrect, as it is not a right the copyright holder can

As complexity rises, precise statements lose meaning,
and meaningful statements lose precision. -- Lotfi Zadeh 
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