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Re: LGPL module linked with a GPL lib

On 7/30/05, Michael K. Edwards <m.k.edwards@gmail.com> wrote:
> On 7/30/05, Raul Miller <moth.debian@gmail.com> wrote:
> > I count four issues the judge considered, with a bit of detail on each
> > of those issues.
> I didn't say six "issues".  I said "six reasons why it would be
> inappropriate to grant a preliminary injunction for breach of the GPL
> terms, any one of which would have been sufficient."

Ok, my mistake.

That said:given the nature of common law, precedent, and how 
narrowly judges like to form their opinions, I believe the intent of
the judge was that the case be valid as common law where all
six of these reasons are valid, and that any of these reasons
taken individually would not be sufficient in and of itself.

> > Eh... it was explicit in the decision that the copyright breach had
> > largely been repaired.
> >
> > So, yeah, in contexts where the breach is repaired, the automatic
> > termination clause can get ignored.
> There's no such thing as a "copyright breach" and you can't "repair"
> copyright infringement. 

Sure you can: through contract with the infringed party.

If the infringed party does not agree to such a contract, that's when it
can't be repaired.

> > > Oh, they may well know the truth (as I understand it); but if so, they
> > > do not choose to advertise their knowledge.  Alternately, if they have
> > > a foundation for their claims that my amateur archaeology has been
> > > unable to unearth, they seem to have no desire to expose it to public
> > > scrutiny.  Why should they, when widespread belief in the accuracy of
> > > their interpretation gets the job done anyway?
> >
> > As usual, you're implying a lot with what you say, but actually saying
> > very little.
> Let me try again.  Eben Moglen has a J. D. from Yale.  He has been
> admitted to the bar in New York and before the Supreme Court.  He has
> clerked in district court and for Justice Thurgood Marshall.  He has
> held a professorship of law and legal history at Columbia for over a
> decade.  He is not ignorant of the law.  

This mini-biography seems easy enough to understand.

> It is my opinion that he knows damn well that there is no such thing 
> as "copyright-based license" and never has been.

This, on the other hand seems rather silly.

> It's very useful as a propaganda device to make it appear that there
> is some rich vein of unmined law in this area, and therefore some
> difficulty in applying the mountain of case law relevant to any given
> fact pattern involving the GPL.

"Mountain of case law"?  There's very little case law with respect to
copyrights and computers.

Computers operate by making numerous copies of whatever it is
that they're processing.  The U.S. has some statutory law which
addresses what copyright means in a few common cases, and a
few copyright cases have appeared in court where computers have
been central, but for the most part case law has not come to grips
with this issue.

I think you're projecting a shadow of this conflict onto the GPL.

But this conflict between the way copyright is designed (to protect the 
tangible expression of ideas from unauthorized copying, with all works 
receiving some copyright protection by default) and the way computers 
operate (where copying is required as a fundamental part of any 
operation) is inherent in copyright law itself.  In the U.S., copyright
law is explicitly constrained "To promote the Progress of Science
and useful Arts", and on its face copyright could be construed to
prevent any innovation involving computers.

That's not <<the GPL makes some rich unmined vein of law appear
for mining>> except in the sense that the GPL promotes the creation
of useful software.

> But the truth as I see it (and I am not alone) is that the GPL is a 
> somewhat unconventionally drafted but otherwise completely 
> routine contract of adhesion. 

This is simply false.  There are numerous cases where modified
forms of the GPL are in use and/or other alternate terms are
in use.  If you don't mind, I'll cite a few examples:

* gcc
* linux kernel
* perl
* ghostscript

or, quoting the fsf faq on the gpl:


   "We do occasionally make license exceptions to assist a project 
   which is producing free software under a license other than the 
   GPL. However, we have to see a good reason why this will 
   advance the cause of free software."

More generally, the fact that a license is widely used does NOT make
it a contract of adhesion.

> If this is in fact the truth, then many of the things that he, and other 
> attorneys closely associated with the FSF, say in public about the 
> GPL are untrue, perhaps even deliberately misleading.  That 
> doesn't inspire my respect.
> Is that a bald enough statement for you?

Yes, thank you.

I believe your opinion to be factually incorrect, but that statement was
indeed bald enough for me.

Thanks again,


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