Alexandre Oliva aoliva@redhat.com
Mon Jul 16 20:40:00 GMT 2007

On Jul 16, 2007, kenner@vlsi1.ultra.nyu.edu (Richard Kenner) wrote:

>> On Jul 16, 2007, kenner@vlsi1.ultra.nyu.edu (Richard Kenner) wrote:
>> > the issue here is not what the license actually *is*, but how one is
>> > to *know* what it is.
>> I guess if you have any doubts as to the license the distributor wants
>> you to believe to be applicable, you can (i) ask the copyright holder,

> You can't ask the copyright holder because you need the representation of
> the distributor as to who the copyright holder actually is!  This is a key
> point.

You look for copyright notices, ask the holders whether they own all
of that, ask the distributor who owns any other bits.  If they don't
know or won't tell, they're up for contributory infringement, and if
you can show you got their word and took their word, you might very
well be able to transfer all the liability to them.  Not that you
might keep on distributing the code that some copyright holder didn't
authorize; you might have to collect damages from the unlawful
distributor for this.

> If you give me a file that purports to be a modified version of GCC,
> how do I know who else, if anybody, might have a copyright claim on
> that version?

When you receive a copy of Microsoft Windows from a reseller on a
street corner, how do you know who else, if anybody, might have a
copyright claim on it?

> That's why I need a license agreement with you:

If the redistributor doesn't have any copyright claims on the file,
you can ask for a contract, an agreement, a warranty promise, whatever
you ask for and they agree to give you, but it's not going to be a
copyright license.

Alexandre Oliva         http://www.lsd.ic.unicamp.br/~oliva/
FSF Latin America Board Member         http://www.fsfla.org/
Red Hat Compiler Engineer   aoliva@{redhat.com, gcc.gnu.org}
Free Software Evangelist  oliva@{lsd.ic.unicamp.br, gnu.org}

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