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Old 06-19-2008, 07:32 PM
Matthew Saltzman
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

On Thu, 2008-06-19 at 12:59 -0300, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> On Jun 18, 2008, Matthew Saltzman <mjs@clemson.edu> wrote:
>
> > Then can we at least agree that there are sometimes unfortunate
> > consequences to the GPL's failure to permit one to share a work
> > combining two pieces of *free* software because of relatively minor[1]
> > license incompatibilities?
>
> Yeah, it's unfortunate when this happens. In general, authors who use
> the GPL for its intended purpose (ensuring the 4 freedoms are
> respected for all users) won't object to the combination of their
> works with other works that respect users' freedoms, and will grant
> additional permissions for the combinations in spite of the license
> conflicts.
>
> Of course, not everyone does that, and some people who would like to
> create such combinations may even not realize that this possibility
> exists, or think it's not worth the effort.

Would not the world then be a better place if the GPL permitted such
combinations to start with? That would simplify this process enormously
and help spread free software.

>
> So, yeah, it's unfortunate, but I don't think it's really such a big
> deal. Nearly all Free Software *is* available under the GPL and
> compatible licenses anyway.

Maybe all the free software *you* use...

PHP, for example, is not under GPL. When MySQL changed its free
distribution from LGPL to GPL, that almost put an end to the php-mysql
library. The end result was MySQL's free software exception clause,
which they added to the GPL to create their license.

I work on a free software project (very widely known in my field) that
is primarily CPL. GPL compatibility is a problem for us. We also need
to interface to proprietary libraries. I have little hope that I can
get permission from all the contributors' employers to dual license.

Plenty of companies that would be willing to release free software are
leery of releasing it as GPL and of using GPL software. Whether their
concerns are well founded or not, the compatibility issues are still
there.

>
> > In fact, I think it's arguable that there are sometimes unfortunate
> > consequences to the GPL's failure to permit one to share a work that
> > makes use of a GPL library and a proprietary library.
>
> Sparing a user from becoming dependent on a piece of proprietary
> software might even be a sacrifice for the user, but it's actually an
> advantage for the user and for society in the long run.

In the long run, we are all dead.[1] Meanwhile, we have to trade off
the benefits of purity against the possibility of actually getting
useful work done. If I can do so by combining works already created
(even if proprietary) with new works I create, then I may have to be
prepared to live with the necessary sacrifice of my principles, even
while advancing those principles as best I can in other contexts.

And it's a shame if I can't make the added benefits of the work I
created available for others to use if they are prepared to acquire the
other components or do the work to replace them.

>
> Anyhow, it is true that conquering freedom is not without its
> sacrifices. Like, one could argue that an army is a useless expense
> and sacrifice in times of peace, but if you don't work on your
> defenses proactively (and GPL is a license that not only respects the
> 4 freedoms, but also stands up to defend them), you become a sweeter
> target, more likely to be defeated and terminated.
>

[1] John Maynard Keynes
--
Matthew Saltzman

Clemson University Math Sciences
mjs AT clemson DOT edu
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Old 06-19-2008, 07:59 PM
Alexandre Oliva
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

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

> You can build a box to contain some odd-shaped thing, but you can't
> support a general claim that the box is derived from the contents.

I didn't make this claim, ever. If you misunderstood it as such,
that explains why you go in tangents every time we approach the
relevant point.

What I'm saying is more like that the box and the odd-shaped thing are
offered as a single package. You don't get to go to a shop and
purchase only the object that's inside the box, or just the box. They
won't give you a discount just because you don't want them both. It's
a single package, even if it's possible to separate them and throw
away the part you're not interested in with some effort.

Of course, if you have to rip the box open to take the object out, and
what you wanted was the box, without the rip, then you won't end up
with that, even if the box and the object are distinguishable objects.

> What specifically distinguishes if as a single work' as opposed to a
> container of some unrelated bits?

Mainly the fact that they were put together to work together in a way
that involved a creative process rather than some mechanical process.

>> I didn't mean that, but I agree it's correct. But this has ZERO to do
>> with whether the movie in the DVD is a single work. Surely the song
>> whose snippets play during the movie are not mere aggregation, they're
>> an integral part of the creative work.

> I think you are overgeneralizing. The songs in "South Pacific" were
> creatively part of the work, but "Saturday Night Fever" just played
> songs that were already hits and happened to fit in the scenes.

So what? Saturday Night Fever remains a separate, independent work,
but that doesn't prevent a copy of it from being an integral part of a
copy of another copyrightable work. But then again, whether it
amounts to mere aggregation (say, a copy of a radio station
transmission while they played a random selection of songs for some
period of time) or a creative process (say, recording on a K7 tape a
radio show that selected songs about a certain theme to evoke certain
emotions).

Movies are seldom the former case. But even when they are, the
copyright holders of the movie still require permission from the
copyright holders of the songs to be able to distribute it.

>>> Yes, the representation does not affect the underlying creative works.

>> I think this is enough to show that you're seriously missing
>> information as to how copyright works, and it's become clear that you
>> have no interest in obtaining such knowledge.

> I'm very interested in anything you have to support your theory that
> combining two sections in the same file makes a difference
> copyright-wise compared to two separate files.

How does this have anything to do with the above?

You said the above in response to the ironical proposition that "a
movie is a mere aggregation of separate pictures".

Agreeing with this sets aside the entire creative process involved in
creating the expression of the idea conveyed through not the messages
individually, but by their exposition in a certain order at a certain
pace with a certain accompanying audio (or not).

This process is precisely what makes the whole a copyrightable work.

Thus, you don't understand what copyright is about, even if
"representation does not affect the underlying creative works" is
true. And, to some extent, it is, but not in a way that supports the
claim I proposed as reductio ad absurdum.

--
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Free Software Evangelist oliva@{lsd.ic.unicamp.br, gnu.org}
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Old 06-19-2008, 08:07 PM
Alexandre Oliva
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

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

> Alexandre Oliva wrote:
>>
>>> The question is, does taking some code and an opaque binary blob and
>>> sticking them in the same file make a 'work as a whole' or is it
>>> identifiable sections of code and separate data that are not derived
>>> from the Program?

>> This only matters if you distribute them as separate works. When you
>> distribute them as a whole, you don't get the exception.

> Separate sections.

Yep.

this License, and its terms, do not apply to those sections *when*
you distribute them as *separate* works. But *when* you distribute
the same sections as *part* of a *whole* which is a work based on
the Program, the distribution of the *whole* *must* be on the terms
of this License (emphasis mine)

You can't just disregard the parts you don't like.

>> Read again, very carefully, the sentence you quoted. Especially the
>> "when you distribute them as separate works" part.

> Note that it doesn't say anything about files there.

Exactly. It talks about distributing them as separate works (not as
separate sections, as you seem to read it), or as a whole work.

Say, is the microcode_ctl package a copyrightable work?

How about linux-2.6.25.tar.bz2?

How about bzImage?

>>> Would the code continue to work if you replace those bits with
>>> something else that would work in the hardware it loads?

>> Whether it works or not is not relevant to tell whether it's derived.

> How else could you tell if the parts are related or not, unless you
> were part of the creative process.

It's trivial to tell there was a creative process in that expression,
and that's enough to establish copyrightability.

>>> But why not stick to the CPU microcode example?

>> Because you got the facts wrong. It's not distributed even close to
>> the kernel.

> Does 'close' have something to do with whether it is a separate
> section or not? Isn't it in the same vmlinuz imaage somewhere?

No. You got your facts completely wrong. The CPU microcode you're
talking about is in the package microcode_ctl. It's a separate rpm.
Totally unrelated with the kernel rpm.

--
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Free Software Evangelist oliva@{lsd.ic.unicamp.br, gnu.org}
FSFLA Board Member íSÚ Libre! => http://www.fsfla.org/
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Old 06-19-2008, 08:13 PM
Alexandre Oliva
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

On Jun 19, 2008, Les Mikesell <lesmikesell@gmail.com> wrote:

> Alexandre Oliva wrote:

>> Yeah, it's unfortunate when this happens. In general, authors who use
>> the GPL for its intended purpose (ensuring the 4 freedoms are
>> respected for all users) won't object to the combination of their
>> works with other works that respect users' freedoms, and will grant
>> additional permissions for the combinations in spite of the license
>> conflicts.

> I don't believe that is generally true except for perl and the few
> other dual-licensed packages where the authors understood the issue
> from the start.

Your beliefs don't match facts.

Look for GPLed packages with an additional exception to combine with
say openssl, just as an example.

> And worse, there is no accounting for copyright ownership since
> anyone could have added code and most packages have no one who could
> grant such permission

Yeah, legal maintainability is important and it's sad that so many
people prefer to disregard this aspect. Any ideas of how to improve
this mindset?

>> So, yeah, it's unfortunate, but I don't think it's really such a big
>> deal. Nearly all Free Software *is* available under the GPL and
>> compatible licenses anyway.

> And there's where we differ. I think it is a big deal, has put free
> software decades behind where it might otherwise be, and has kept
> affordable alternatives to monopoly-ware out of the picture almost
> completely.

At the expense of its no longer being Free Software? What would the
point be, again?

>> Sparing a user from becoming dependent on a piece of proprietary
>> software might even be a sacrifice for the user, but it's actually an
>> advantage for the user and for society in the long run.

> You can't be 'dependent' on software as long as there are alternate
> choices.

'course not, sir :-), who'd have thunk :-) that OOXML doesn't describe
the file formats actually used by MS-Office 2007 and that Microsoft
holds patents that could prevent alternate choices from implementing
compatibility with MS-Office 2007 (rather than with OOXML), eh?

--
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Free Software Evangelist oliva@{lsd.ic.unicamp.br, gnu.org}
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Old 06-19-2008, 08:29 PM
"Horst H. von Brand"
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

jeff <moe@blagblagblag.org> wrote:
> Anders Karlsson wrote:
> > * jeff <moe@blagblagblag.org> [20080618 17:50]:
> > [snip]
> >> ... more pages of hex

> >> I personally downloaded this file believing that I was getting a
> >> free GPL driver. Broadcom says so in the patch itself, in the
> >> included LICENSE file, and their website when you click to download
> >> it. Red Hat is shipping it as GPLv2. So either they have to provide
> >> the source (if they have it), stop shipping it, or *at least* stop
> >> saying they are shipping a GPLv2 kernel if they are
> >> unwilling/unable to provide the source.
> > You missed the discussion where it was pointed out that some firmware
> > is written in hex directly, as there is no compiler. Good luck with
> > demanding the source to that dude...

> ----> "Derived from proprietary unpublished source code" <----
>
>
>
> linux-2.6.25/drivers/net/tg3.c:
>
> /*
> * tg3.c: Broadcom Tigon3 ethernet driver.
> *
> * Copyright (C) 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 David S. Miller (davem@redhat.com)
> * Copyright (C) 2001, 2002, 2003 Jeff Garzik (jgarzik@pobox.com)
> * Copyright (C) 2004 Sun Microsystems Inc.
> * Copyright (C) 2005-2007 Broadcom Corporation.
> *
> * Firmware is:
> * Derived from proprietary unpublished source code,
> * Copyright (C) 2000-2003 Broadcom Corporation.
> *
> * Permission is hereby granted for the distribution of this firmware
> * data in hexadecimal or equivalent format, provided this copyright
> * notice is accompanying it.
> */
>
>
>
> tg3.c is the example I have been using all along.

The above note clearly indicates the firmware is to be considered a
separate piece, that just so happens is written as data inside this C file.

> Of course actually getting Red Hat or Broadcom to turn it over
> wouldn't be easy. Broadcom has some legal issues of their own right
> now, heh.

None at all. Broadcom is explicitly allowing distribution of the firmware
in hex. In any case, it is their stuff, they can do as they please with it.

Red Hat never had the source. If you sue them for it, they will tell you
they have Broadcom's permission to distribute it (only) as stated above.
--
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Old 06-19-2008, 08:58 PM
jeff
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

Horst H. von Brand wrote:

jeff <moe@blagblagblag.org> wrote:

Anders Karlsson wrote:

* jeff <moe@blagblagblag.org> [20080618 17:50]:
[snip]

... more pages of hex



I personally downloaded this file believing that I was getting a
free GPL driver. Broadcom says so in the patch itself, in the
included LICENSE file, and their website when you click to download
it. Red Hat is shipping it as GPLv2. So either they have to provide
the source (if they have it), stop shipping it, or *at least* stop
saying they are shipping a GPLv2 kernel if they are
unwilling/unable to provide the source.

You missed the discussion where it was pointed out that some firmware
is written in hex directly, as there is no compiler. Good luck with
demanding the source to that dude...



----> "Derived from proprietary unpublished source code" <----



linux-2.6.25/drivers/net/tg3.c:

/*
* tg3.c: Broadcom Tigon3 ethernet driver.
*
* Copyright (C) 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 David S. Miller (davem@redhat.com)
* Copyright (C) 2001, 2002, 2003 Jeff Garzik (jgarzik@pobox.com)
* Copyright (C) 2004 Sun Microsystems Inc.
* Copyright (C) 2005-2007 Broadcom Corporation.
*
* Firmware is:
* Derived from proprietary unpublished source code,
* Copyright (C) 2000-2003 Broadcom Corporation.
*
* Permission is hereby granted for the distribution of this firmware
* data in hexadecimal or equivalent format, provided this copyright
* notice is accompanying it.
*/



tg3.c is the example I have been using all along.


The above note clearly indicates the firmware is to be considered a
separate piece, that just so happens is written as data inside this C file.


A separate piece which was itself distributed under the GPL (or at least
firmware of the same family--broadcom ethernet):


/************************************************** ****************************/
/* */
/* Broadcom BCM5700 Linux Network Driver, Copyright (c) 2000 - 2003 Broadcom */
/* Corporation. */
/* All rights reserved. */
/* */
/* This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify */
/* it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by */
/* the Free Software Foundation, located in the file LICENSE. */
/* */
/* (c) COPYRIGHT 2001-2004 Broadcom Corporation, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. */
/* */
/* Name: F W _ L S O 0 5. H */
/* Author : Kevin Tran */
/* Version: 1.2 */
/* */
/* Module Description: This file contains firmware binary code of TCP */
/* Segmentation firmware (BCM5705). */
/* */
/* History: */
/* 08/10/02 Kevin Tran Incarnation. */
/* 02/02/04 Kevin Tran Added Support for BCM5788. */
/************************************************** ****************************/

[tons of hex]

This *only* includes the firmware in hex. So what license is this under? GPL,no?

Linus (or the copyright holder) can't just say "oh cpu.c isn't GPL, it's
actually $foolicense" and change the old copies of the file that were
distributed for a decade or whatever. I don't see why broadcom / Red Hat can.



Of course actually getting Red Hat or Broadcom to turn it over
wouldn't be easy. Broadcom has some legal issues of their own right
now, heh.


None at all.


(I was referring to their old CEO being charges with umpteen criminal acts
related to stocks and putting extasy (drugs) in customers/suppliers drinks....)



Broadcom is explicitly allowing distribution of the firmware
in hex. In any case, it is their stuff, they can do as they please with it.


Broadcom was explicitly allowing distribution of the firmware under the GPL
too--but for someone to actually comply with that, they would have to provide
the source code.



Red Hat never had the source. If you sue them for it, they will tell you
they have Broadcom's permission to distribute it (only) as stated above.


Well, Red Hat added it to the Linux kernel before the "Derived from Proprietary
Sources" line was added. How do you know Red Hat doesn't have or never had the
source to it? I don't think they have it, but I've never seen them say they didn't.


-Jeff

P.S. No reason to CC me as I'm on the list.

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Old 06-19-2008, 09:04 PM
"Horst H. von Brand"
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

Matthew Saltzman <mjs@clemson.edu> wrote:
> On Thu, 2008-06-19 at 12:59 -0300, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> > On Jun 18, 2008, Matthew Saltzman <mjs@clemson.edu> wrote:
> >
> > > Then can we at least agree that there are sometimes unfortunate
> > > consequences to the GPL's failure to permit one to share a work
> > > combining two pieces of *free* software because of relatively minor[1]
> > > license incompatibilities?

> > Yeah, it's unfortunate when this happens. In general, authors who use
> > the GPL for its intended purpose (ensuring the 4 freedoms are
> > respected for all users) won't object to the combination of their
> > works with other works that respect users' freedoms, and will grant
> > additional permissions for the combinations in spite of the license
> > conflicts.

> > Of course, not everyone does that, and some people who would like to
> > create such combinations may even not realize that this possibility
> > exists, or think it's not worth the effort.

> Would not the world then be a better place if the GPL permitted such
> combinations to start with? That would simplify this process enormously
> and help spread free software.

... into all sorts of non-free combinations. The GPL is as it is for a
purpose, else the BSD/MIT license (or just public domain) would be enough.

> > So, yeah, it's unfortunate, but I don't think it's really such a big
> > deal. Nearly all Free Software *is* available under the GPL and
> > compatible licenses anyway.

> Maybe all the free software *you* use...

Most of what is out there, by all surveys I've seen.

> PHP, for example, is not under GPL. When MySQL changed its free
> distribution from LGPL to GPL, that almost put an end to the php-mysql
> library. The end result was MySQL's free software exception clause,
> which they added to the GPL to create their license.

Fixed. See?

> I work on a free software project (very widely known in my field) that
> is primarily CPL. GPL compatibility is a problem for us. We also need
> to interface to proprietary libraries. I have little hope that I can
> get permission from all the contributors' employers to dual license.

No simple answers there. In any case, GPL /allows/ you to do certain
things, and you are getting this software because people feel confortable
distributing under GPL. At least it is interoperable in itself.

> Plenty of companies that would be willing to release free software are
> leery of releasing it as GPL

Why?

> and of using GPL software.

Now that is completely unwarranted.

> Whether their
> concerns are well founded or not, the compatibility issues are still
> there.

But they are way less than trying to combine stuff under the typical
assortment of privative licenses in any case... have you looked in detail
at that kind of mess?
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Old 06-19-2008, 09:48 PM
Anders Karlsson
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

* jeff <moe@blagblagblag.org> [20080619 23:00]:
[snip]

> Well, Red Hat added it to the Linux kernel before the "Derived from
> Proprietary Sources" line was added. How do you know Red Hat doesn't have
> or never had the source to it? I don't think they have it, but I've never
> seen them say they didn't.

Can you provide the commit ID showing that it was Red Hat that
committed it to the upstream Linux kernel source tree? I'm actually
curious to have a look at that commit.

/Anders

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Old 06-19-2008, 10:42 PM
Matthew Saltzman
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

On Thu, 2008-06-19 at 17:04 -0400, Horst H. von Brand wrote:
> Matthew Saltzman <mjs@clemson.edu> wrote:
> > On Thu, 2008-06-19 at 12:59 -0300, Alexandre Oliva wrote:
> > > On Jun 18, 2008, Matthew Saltzman <mjs@clemson.edu> wrote:
> > >
> > > > Then can we at least agree that there are sometimes unfortunate
> > > > consequences to the GPL's failure to permit one to share a work
> > > > combining two pieces of *free* software because of relatively minor[1]
> > > > license incompatibilities?
>
> > > Yeah, it's unfortunate when this happens. In general, authors who use
> > > the GPL for its intended purpose (ensuring the 4 freedoms are
> > > respected for all users) won't object to the combination of their
> > > works with other works that respect users' freedoms, and will grant
> > > additional permissions for the combinations in spite of the license
> > > conflicts.
>
> > > Of course, not everyone does that, and some people who would like to
> > > create such combinations may even not realize that this possibility
> > > exists, or think it's not worth the effort.
>
> > Would not the world then be a better place if the GPL permitted such
> > combinations to start with? That would simplify this process enormously
> > and help spread free software.
>
> ... into all sorts of non-free combinations. The GPL is as it is for a
> purpose, else the BSD/MIT license (or just public domain) would be enough.

No, I'm only referring to compatibility of free/open-source software
licenses here.

Interestingly, the Modified BSD license and the X11 (MIT) license are
GPL compatible.

>
> > > So, yeah, it's unfortunate, but I don't think it's really such a big
> > > deal. Nearly all Free Software *is* available under the GPL and
> > > compatible licenses anyway.
>
> > Maybe all the free software *you* use...
>
> Most of what is out there, by all surveys I've seen.

Surveys are only as reliable as their sample selection processes. And
in any case, it's no consolation to know that "most" free software is
GPL if the program you need is not.

>
> > PHP, for example, is not under GPL. When MySQL changed its free
> > distribution from LGPL to GPL, that almost put an end to the php-mysql
> > library. The end result was MySQL's free software exception clause,
> > which they added to the GPL to create their license.
>
> Fixed. See?

Do you remember the sturm und drang involved in accomplishing that? It
is in no sense easy to accomplish these kinds of changes after the fact.
And MySQL is at least a single entity. If you were to try doing this
with almost any distributed development project with more than a handful
of developers, you'd almost certainly fail and quite possibly sacrifice
your sanity in the process.

>
> > I work on a free software project (very widely known in my field) that
> > is primarily CPL. GPL compatibility is a problem for us. We also need
> > to interface to proprietary libraries. I have little hope that I can
> > get permission from all the contributors' employers to dual license.
>
> No simple answers there. In any case, GPL /allows/ you to do certain
> things, and you are getting this software because people feel confortable
> distributing under GPL.

Or because they don't think too hard about it.

> At least it is interoperable in itself.

Ooh, the possibilities boggle the mind!

>
> > Plenty of companies that would be willing to release free software are
> > leery of releasing it as GPL
>
> Why?

You'd have to ask their lawyers. But it's a fact.

>
> > and of using GPL software.
>
> Now that is completely unwarranted.

You'd have to tell their lawyers. But it's a fact.

>
> > Whether their
> > concerns are well founded or not, the compatibility issues are still
> > there.
>
> But they are way less than trying to combine stuff under the typical
> assortment of privative licenses in any case... have you looked in detail
> at that kind of mess?

No doubt. But "better than a steaming pile" is not in itself a very
compelling recommendation.

--
Matthew Saltzman

Clemson University Math Sciences
mjs AT clemson DOT edu
http://www.math.clemson.edu/~mjs

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Old 06-20-2008, 12:17 AM
Alexandre Oliva
 
Default Fedora Freedom and linux-libre

On Jun 19, 2008, Les Mikesell <lesmikesell@gmail.com> wrote:

> How would you relate what you are saying to the recent ruling in the
> UK that selling modified ROMS to someone who already has the
> original does not violate copyright law?
> http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080612/0055131385.shtml

The question was not for me, but I'll chime in anyway.

Seems like the above is an interesting case about fair use, about
limiting the power of copyright holders over their works, for the sake
of the public interest. Excellent!

Now, would you have any reason to expect such a ruling to not have
been upheld should the software in the chips have been licensed under
the GPL without source code, a la Broadcom?

Do you think it would it make any difference if the software in the
chips had been distributed under the GPL with source code?

> No, I need the owner's permission to have my copy in the first place.

This claim is in conflict with the legislations of various
jurisdictions I'm relatively familiar with. Where in the world do you
claim this to be true?

> I don't need his permission to use it

As in, reading the book or listening to the song or watching the movie
or running the program, yes, correct.

> or add my own changes to it.

No, in order to modify a work you need permission from the copyright
holder and, in some jurisdictions, also from the author (in case the
author is allowed by law to assign the copyright to other parties
while retaining moral rights, one of which is to object to
modifications; this may sound alien to US-centered folks, but it's in
the Berne convention and implemented in various legislations around
the world)

>> If said owner grants that permission only under the condition that
>> your modifications have to be distributed under GPL...

> Once I have my copy, said owner has no more to say about what I can do
> with it. Copyright prevents subsequent redistribution without
> permission but it is not anyone else's business if I redistribute the
> work that I've added to my copy to someone else who also has a copy of
> the original work.

You should definitely discuss this matter with a lawyer to get this
straightened out. You seem to have misunderstood what the "use the
work however you want" phrase you probably heard or read about
somewhere amounted to. It's not use as in "create derived works based
on", it's use as in "enjoy". That's not regulated by copyright (at
least it wasn't before 1996 or so, when provisions that ended up
implemented and exaggerated in the DMCA and various other anti-social
legislations around the world, were mandated by the WTO, rather than
adopted voluntarily by signatory countries at the WIPO.

> There are no conditions to receiving a copy a copy under the GPL.

That's correct (save for the dupe :-), and that's how copyright works.
Just imagine how you'd possibly be able to refrain from breaking the
law if someone could just put an illegal copy in your hands while you
were asleep, or at your table while you were distracted reading the
newspaper at a coffee shop, or some such. It's that who gives you the
copy that breaks the law, in case distributing the copy is not
permitted by law.

The GPL merely restates what most copyright legislations take for
granted. This makes leaves room in case some diverge, like GPLv3 does
to cover Brazilian software law, that requires a license to be even
entitled to run a program.

>> Using a library is one thing, taking its code and modifying it
>> something quite different; and distributing a copy of the original
>> or a modified version are yet again completely different. For each
>> of those activities you need separate permissions.

> Sometimes. Some of those things are basic rights, recognized
> differently in different places.

That's correct, fair use exists as court law in some jurisdictions,
uses that don't infringe on copyright are explicitly mentioned in
copyright laws in others, and these are things you can do regardless
of whatever the GPL or any other pure license (i.e., pure grant of
permissions, rather than contract) might say.

For example, per fair use, you can take a small portion of a
pre-existing work and use it in another work that you can then
distribute under your own terms. How much a small portion is varies.
For example, in Brazil, it was perfectly legal for me to create this:
http://www.lsd.ic.unicamp.br/~oliva/fsfla/whatisthematrix/

In the US, it might not have been, because laws have upheld far
shorter limits on reuse of portions of movies. But then, it's a
reinterpretation, which might again make it fair use as a parody. It
sure is a grey area. Unlike Brazilian law, in which copyright law
explicitly mentions some uses you can count on regardless of licenses,
fair use in US is a strict matter of jurisprudence, so it remains a
grey area until there's a court ruling on the matter.

It used to be the case that one could copy an entire work for personal
use in Brazil, up to 1998. It no longer is, now you can only copy
small portions, and only for the personal use of the person performing
the copy. So universities that want to promote culture rather than
sell out to the powerful copyright holders permit students to operate
photo-copying machines at libraries, as long as they only copy no more
than one or two chapters at a time.

But this doesn't mean students are entitled to take their copied
chapters, replace some passages, write a preface, bind it all and give
(or lend, or sell) it to their friends. If you think you can do these
things, and count on their being fair use rights all over the place,
you're up for unfortunate surprises. I hope not, and I wish it wasn't
so, but unfortunately corporate greed has accummulated so much power
that they can buy up legislation in detriment of everyone else, while
they can claim to not be above the law. And some people still believe
their mind-washing BS about copyrights, patents and trademarks holding
any similarity, existing to protect their investment rather than the
public interest, and their violation bearing any resemblance to
stealing. While they're stealing our rights from right under our
noses, while we nod along because they call it "property" and we
believe in respecting property (without quotes).

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

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