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Re: Questions about legal theory behind (L)GPL

On Thu, Jan 20, 2005 at 06:59:23PM +0100, Martin Hardie wrote:
> It's nice to see some FSF doubters (I have just been reading this thread in 
> the archives) and questioning of their speech based copyright vision. I think 
> I agree with Micahel that precedent is fairly against the FSF and Lessig 
> views of the proper interpretation of copyright.

You mean the mysql v progress precedent, where a judge apparently decided
that the parties had mostly already settled and so there was no need
for immediate action?

Or do you mean the borland v lotus precedent where the only possible
copyrighted material under consideration were the text (and arrangement)
of menus?

Anyways, from my point of view, the FSF would like to not have to worry
about copyright at all.  Every court decision weakening the ability of
groups of people to use copyright to hoard software is in a very real
sense something that the FSF is trying to achieve.

Of course, copyright isn't going to go away, which is where licenses like
the GPL have a part -- as a way of releasing something to the public,
with fewer counterintuitive consequences than releasing it as Public
Domain.  [That said, copyright law is intricate enough that there are
will probably always be some obscure issue which befuddles someone --
no matter which license or non-license is in use or is not in use.]

> Its also nice to see some people talking about how TMs and other things might 
> restrict the "freeness" of open source. There has been too much junk said by 
> people that it purely a licence issue and everything else including US Export 
> Regulations dont interfere with the freedom of the licence! 

But I notice you using scare quotes.

Anyways, freedom is a very broad issue, but the freedoms Debian is
concerned about are rather specific kinds of freedom (especially those
that allow us to distribute debian on multiple platforms, and those that
allow us to fix bugs and security problems).

> tradition and internal protocols. A system of trust operates within the 
> community of producers and users which is sufficently well known to bind 
> third parties not to use the material in a manner inconsistent with the 
> communities principles.

The Social Contract, the DFSG and the GPL and many other such documents
can be seen as concrete representations of some community principle


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