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Re: [WASTE-dev-public] Do not package WASTE! UNAUTHORIZED SOFTWARE [Was: Re: Questions about waste licence and code.]

On 5/19/05, Raul Miller <moth.debian@gmail.com> wrote:
> > > For the record, I disagree that this faq is "patently false".
> > >
> > > It is, in places, a bit simplistic, but I wouldn't advise anyone
> > > delve into those fine points of law unless they've retained
> > > the services of a lawyer (at which point the FAQ is merely
> > > an interesting commentary -- it has less weight than
> > > professional advice).
> On 5/19/05, Michael K. Edwards <m.k.edwards@gmail.com> wrote:
> > The FAQ is not merely an "interesting commentary" -- it is the
> > published stance of the FSF, to which its General Counsel refers all
> > inquiries.
> And if you have retained counsel of your own, I'd let your
> lawyer deal with that.  If you haven't, then my "interesting
> commentary" comment is irrelevant.

Perhaps that is indeed what you would do.  I don't consider lawyers to
be the only persons capable of reading the law for themselves.  They
are the only ones authorized to offer certain forms of legal advice
and legal representation, but that's a whole 'nother animal.

> > Although I am not legally qualified to judge, I believe
> > that he can have no reasonable basis under the law in his jurisdiction
> > for many of the assertions that it contains, particularly the
> > assertion that the GPL is a creature of copyright law and not an
> > ordinary offer of contract.  That may yet become a problem for him
> > personally as well as for the FSF.
> I don't find in the GPL FAQ any assertion that the GPL is not
> to be considered an agreement under contract law.

Very, very interesting.  The grossly erroneous conclusions are there
(including various statements about run-time use that are false in the
US in light of 17 USC 117, and false for other reasons in many other
jurisdictions), but the "GPL is a creature of copyright law" bit is
not.  Does anyone happen to have a six-month-old copy of the FSF FAQ?

Happily, the public record is not limited to websites under the FSF's
control.  Google Eben Moglen for the text of various interviews, and
read his statements (especially paragraph 18) in
http://www.gnu.org/press/mysql-affidavit.html -- or Google's cached
copy, if that URL mysteriously stops working.

> I can only guess that you're objecting to the implication that
> copyright law is somehow important to understanding the
> GPL.

Presumably this bit of grandstanding is meant for the benefit of any
reader who doesn't know that you and I have been spamming debian-legal
(and on and off debian-devel) with this debate for months, and hence
you can guess a great deal more than that.

> I'm stopping here because I'm assuming that the rest of what
> you wrote is somehow logically related to these assertions
> which do not appear in the FAQ.

Yeah, right.  Like you haven't been arguing strenuously for months
that the GPL is not an offer of contract.  I am starting to question
your sincerity again.

- Michael

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