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Re: How long is it acceptable to leave *undistributable* files in the kernel package?

On Wed, Jun 16, 2004 at 10:36:11PM -0400, Michael Poole wrote:
> Andrew Suffield writes:
> >> Estoppel would bar a claim if the plaintiff first
> >> contributed code to a kernel that already had binary blob components.
> >> A merely decent lawyer may be able to invoke laches depending on how
> >> long an author was silent after the first binary blob was added to the
> >> kernel, but merely decent lawyers are not much cheaper than good
> >> lawyers.
> >
> > These are stock defenses that are invoked as a matter of course, in
> > case something useful turns up during discovery, and which are
> > notoriously difficult to prove. You need to prove *malicious*
> > *intent*, not incompetence, for these defences to work. Not a good
> > idea to bet on them.
> Incompetence (or laziness) on the part of the plaintiff is a perfectly
> adequate reason to invoke either of those defenses.  Until you cite
> specific case law, I will disbelieve your claim that proof of intent
> is necessary, since Google finds dismissals on those grounds that
> never mention malicious intent.

Judge's discretion, probably coupled with bad lawyering on the part of
the prosecution.

> > We have not always been paying such close attention as we currently
> > do. Anybody on -legal can tell you that much. This is partially
> > because we're getting better at it, and partially because SCO has
> > demonstrated that it's important we be good at it.
> As of the last filings and rulings I saw, SCO has only demonstrated
> that someone with more money than sense can cost other people a lot in
> legal fees.  This is not really news, and as a stock manipulation
> scheme, it is proving to not have legs.  If someone else down the road
> wants to involve free software in another frivolous lawsuit, no amount
> of diligence on Debian's part will prevent it.

This is merely a reflection that SCO does not appear to have a
case. It does not change the fact that SCO has demonstrated why it is
important that they must never have a case.

> Yes, Debian should make sure it will not end up on the wrong end of a
> valid lawsuit, but that can be satisfied by other means than claiming
> that widely used packages violate the GPL.

"Yes, Debian should make sure it will not end up on the wrong end of a
valid lawsuit, but that can be satisfied by other means than avoiding
breaking the law"

Umm... how?

  .''`.  ** Debian GNU/Linux ** | Andrew Suffield
 : :' :  http://www.debian.org/ |
 `. `'                          |
   `-             -><-          |

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