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osOpinion: Fair Use and the Fallacy of GNU

Sep 10, 2001, 21:34 (33 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by TechnoJoe)
"Contrary to popular belief, Richard Stallman is actually one of the world's biggest advocates of copyright laws. Without copyright laws to enforce the GNU General Public License (GPL) or any other license for that matter, all open source code would be in the public domain, free for the taking.

Section Five of the GNU GPL says, "You are not required to accept this License ... However, nothing else grants you permission to modify or distribute the Program or its derivative works." Well, not quite, Rich.

The copyright laws include the doctrine of "fair use," which overcomes the exclusivity rights and other restrictions placed on copyrighted material and gives people the right to use copyrighted works without permission, even when permission is explicitly denied. See Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, Inc., 114 S.Ct. 1164 (1994).

Fair use may not seem fair to the author whose work is taken, but it is fair to society as a whole."

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