Subject: Re: Interesting POV on free software licensing
From: "Karsten M. Self" <>
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999 16:02:11 -0700 wrote:
> > People have an automatic right to run it.
> Richard:
> Not without a license.  In the absence of a license the end user has neither use
> rights nor display rights.  Absurd as it sounds, mere lawful possession of a
> program, in my understanding (which could be wrong) does NOT inherently confer
> to the holder the right to execute that program.

As I read it, if you _own_ the copy, you can run it.  Lawful ownership
of the program is conferred by the GPL, and not rescinded until the
license terms are violated.  If the GPL grants use to run the program,
no matter what, then the right has been assigned, no?

17 USC 117 (

> 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 
>      manner, or 
>      (2) that such new copy or adaptation is for archival purposes 
>      only and that all archival copies are destroyed in the event that 
>      continued possession of the computer program should cease to be 
>      rightful. 
>      Any exact copies prepared in accordance with the provisions of 
>      this section may be leased, sold, or otherwise transferred, 
>      along with the copy from which such copies were prepared, 
>      only as part of the lease, sale, or other transfer of all 
>      rights in the program. Adaptations so prepared may be transferred 
>      only with the authorization of the copyright owner. 

...note that the language is changed somewhat following DMCA.  I believe
it allows for greater leeway in running the code -- 'own or lease' and
such.  Find your own copy of DMCA to confirm.
Karsten M. Self (
    What part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?

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