On Sun, 12 Feb 2006 19:25:51 -0600
Isaac <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:

> On Sun, 12 Feb 2006 18:16:56 +0100, Stefaan A Eeckels
> <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> > 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. 
> I did not say that such a thing was generally impossible.  The
> question is whether the GPL itself provides for becoming a licensee
> without making a copy.

There are two activities that are normally forbidden by Copyright that
are allowed when one accepts the GPL:
1. Making and distributing copies
2. Preparing derivative works.

I believe that in both cases, the person or entity wishing to accept the
GPL has to be in possession of a lawful copy. For example, if you steal
a CD with GPLed software from me, you are not in a position to claim
that you are entitled to redistribute this software under the GPL, as I
might not have wanted to give you a copy in the first place. This could
be software that I did not intend to distribute, but had prepared for
my own purposes. The fact that the CD contains the "COPYING" file with
the GPL doesn't mean that I have to distribute it, or that when it is
stolen, I cannot recover my property.

Obviously, when the CD contains an old unmodified version of GCC
neither I nor the copyright holders will care much about the thief
copying and distributing it. If, however, it is a CD that contains
software that looks like a GPLed work (which it would if it was a
derivative work prepared in accordance with the requirements of the
GPL), only a lawful copy (i.e. given to a third party by the owner of
the derivative work) would enable the rightful owner (and not just
anyone having physical access to a copy) to obtain a license under the

Take care,

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