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Re: Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

On Jun 18, 2008, Les Mikesell <lesmikesell gmail com> wrote:

> Alexandre Oliva wrote:

>> I get the impression you misunderstood the question.  I'm not asking
>> something you could do if you had some other permissive license that
>> you couldn't do with the GPL.  What I'm asking is whether you know of
>> anything that, in the absence of a copyright license, you could do
>> with a work, that, after accepting the GPL, you could no longer do.

> In the case I described,

It's not relevant, it was in a different unrelated part of the
conversation.  The question was not about the case you described.  It
was a general question, to show that your notion that the GPL
prohibits you from doing anything is a misunderstanding.

The GPL only grants you rights, it only adds to the set of things you
could do in its absence, it doesn't subtract anything from the set of
things you could od in its absence.  Whatever prohibitions you
perceive stem from copyright law and from other restrictions you may
have accepted.

> Let's assume that I have obtained my copy of several components under
> any license but the GPL, and so have a lot of other people.

Still missing the point.  Don't assuming you have a license that says
other things.  That would just show that there are other licenses that
are more permissive.  We know that.  This is not related at all with
whether the GPL prohibits you from doing anything.

The way to tell whether the GPL prohibits you from doing anything is
comparing what you can do once you accept the GPL with what you could
do before you accepted it.

> With any other license, I could at least have done a diff against
> the original copies and my work and given that away

As long as your original work is not a derived work.  If it is, you
still need permission from the copyright holders of the original work,
to both create your derived work and to distribute the
collective/derived work.

> This doesn't happen with any license but the GPL.

Sorry, I don't know how you came to this conclusion, but it's

Try to create a derived work based on say Microsoft Windows or
Microsoft Word, if you happen to have them around, and to distribute
it, and see what happens.

>> This would be a prohibition of the GPL.

> Yes, in case it wasn't clear before, the specific prohibition that I
> consider unethical is that it takes away my choice to share my own
> work.

It doesn't.  Your own original work can't possibly be a derived work.
It does not grant you permission to distribute joint works you created
by deriving works from others' works in certain ways, so the
prohibition from copyright law remains in place.  See, you didn't have
that choice in the first place for the GPL to take away.  That's the
fundamental point that you're missing.

Alexandre Oliva         http://www.lsd.ic.unicamp.br/~oliva/
Free Software Evangelist  oliva {lsd ic unicamp br, gnu.org}
FSFLA Board Member       ¡Sé Libre! => http://www.fsfla.org/
Red Hat Compiler Engineer   aoliva {redhat com, gcc.gnu.org}

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