Possibilities for commercial software?

David Schlesinger David.Schlesinger at palmsource.com
Fri Jan 26 19:13:15 CET 2007

>Grey areas.

Actually, I don't think it's grey at all. The decision maker, as far as how a work can be published and/or sold, is the copyright holder.

Copyright is the _right_ to _copy_. If you're not the copyright holder, and you haven't been granted a right to copy by the copyright holder, then copying the work is an infringement.

I don't see it as "unethical" for authors to choose to sell their works. If people don't like the price or the terms under which the works are offered, they shouldn't buy them. If enough people refuse to buy particular works because they dislike the terms, the owners of those works will suffer, and they'll be incented to change those terms to ones which are more attractive.

I _do_ see it as unethical to copy works for the purposes of redistribution where you have no right to do so simply because you _can_: technical ability does not equal an ethical privilege. In specific terms, it's illegal republication and an infringement under the copyright laws of pretty much every country on the planet.

Please remember: copyright is what protect GPL code, every bit as much as it protects the music on Sony-BMG CDs with bonus root-kits. If anyone wants to start inveighing against copyright law, they should keep in mind that they'll be arguing in favor of removing anyone's ability to redress misuses of GPL'd code in courts of law at the same time.
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