Subject: Re: Licenses for "Running"
From: "Karsten M. Self" <>
Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2001 21:38:29 -0700
Wed, 13 Jun 2001 21:38:29 -0700
on Wed, Jun 06, 2001 at 01:13:36PM -0400, Adam Theo ( wrote:
> hello, all.
> just to note, this is cross-posted to both the FSB list at
> and the Bazaar list at my own (a list for open source
> 'newbies' that i just began).
> i am taking this day to read up on the FSF and GNU's materials on
> copyright, licensing, etc, to educate myself on exactly what they are.
> i have one question right now. i think i understand that copyright, as
> done by the US Fed Gov't, does nothing for *running* a software, only
> for making copies of it, correct?

    17 USC 117 Limitations on exclusive rights:  Computer programs

    (a) Making of Additional Copy or Adaptation by Owner of Copy. -
    Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106, it is not an
    infringement for the owner of a copy of a computer program to make
    or authorize the making of another copy or adaptation of that
    computer program provided:

        (1) that such a new copy or adaptation is created as an
        essential step in the utilization of the computer program in
        conjunction with a machine and that it is used in no other

In conjunction with 17 USC 106, exclusive rights, operation of a
computer program is not a reserved right under copyright, and 117
explicitly allows the copy (an otherwise reservered right) intrinsic in
most program execution.

> therefore, proprietary licenses (such as from Microsoft or such), only
> enforce the fees they charge for being able to make copies of their
> software, not actually running it on user's computers, correct?

By licensing code, the theory goes, it's possible to grant access on
terms other than those governed by copyright.  It's probably best to
check with the lawyers on this list for specifics.  Most free software
licenses (and in particular the GPL and LGPL) tend to stick quite close
to the specific rights and limitations of copyright law.


Karsten M. Self <>
 What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?       There is no K5 cabal
   Are these opinions my employer's?  Hah!  I don't believe them myself!

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