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Re: the FSF's GPLv3 launch conference

<sarcasm>That would be *really* easy to do.</sarcasm> To relicense the
entire GPL codebase would mean every contributor to every GPL project
would have to agree, possibly in writing. There are thousands, maybe
millions of them.

And FSF is really likely to want to retire the GPL. Just note that the
sections of the copyright act you have quoted allow you to copy for
lawful purposes, and to sell your original copy *on the condition that
you dispose of it*. Only the GPL gives you the right to sell copies
*you* have made.


On 1/8/06, Alexander Terekhov <alexander.terekhov@gmail.com> wrote:
> My suggestion to the FSF is to retire the [L]GPL ASAP and close the shop.
> I suggest to relicense the entire GPL'd code base under OSL/EPL/CPL/
> real-stuff-like-that.
> regards,
> alexander.
> P.S. http://www.stromian.com/Corner/Feb2005.html
> <quote>
> Rosen is too polite to call for replacing the FSF licenses with his own,
> but in his Chapter 6: Reciprocity and the GPL, he makes many
> observations, including:
> 1) The FSF's refusal of outside improvements to the GPL and its
> denunciation of them as "restrictions" handicaps the GPL in the courts:
> "Their avoidance of restrictions has delayed the adoption of new and
> useful licensing concepts for open source software." (p. 106). These
> "restrictions" are actually items such as clear grants of patent
> licenses and the like.
> 2) The FSF language about software "containing" GPL'd software tries to
> turn collective works into derivative works, and is contrary to the
> usual practice of copyright law (p. 114).
> 3) Further instances of unclear language that vary from simply untrue
> (the GPL mandate that "you must give the recipients all the rights that
> you have," says Rosen, "is unnecessarily frightening and is not true"--
> because you still have the right to give the work to others, p. 111) to
> inept (the provisions for linking to LGPL'd code is "an impenetrable
> maze of technobabble," p. 124).
> 4) The FSF's ideas about linking to GPL'd software (see 2) and 3) above)
> conflict with copyright law and practice to the extent that there is no
> need for the LGPL because a user who does not modify a GPL'd work of
> software, but simply incorporates it into a collective work and
> distributes it, is well within copyright law. This means, simply, that
> one can link to GPL'd software and distribute the collective work. If
> the software has a use, simply using it is permitted under copyright
> law.
> The problems resulting from the FSF's unwillingness or inability to
> bring their GPL/LGPL licensing into conformity with copyright law, and
> with modern software licensing practice under that law, will lead it
> into eventual disrepute. So far the FSF has been scrupulous about
> avoiding court, relying on quiet persuasion that moves over to loud
> public indignation and pressure on the infringer from many quarters,
> and it has been successful so far. But its reputation for ferocious
> fanaticism frightens away not only those who would abuse the GPL, but
> also those who can't come to terms with the FSF's interpretation of
> its licenses. By holding the opinion that a collective work is
> actually a derivative work (and therefore violates the GPL) the FSF
> invites gradual and then wholesale violations of the GPL, and
> increasing difficulty in determining which cases will be defensible
> and which will have to be ignored in order not to expose the FSF's
> interpretations to adjudication.
> In cases in which the FSF is not the copyright holder, and therefore
> lacks standing in court, the actual copyright holders will have to
> reach the same decision about bringing an infringement suit. The
> worst case would be that of distributing binary-only software linked
> to unmodified GPL'd software. A good prediction of the outcome would
> be that the GPL will be found invalid in some way. First, for its
> ambiguities: courts decide in favor of licensees if the licensor has
> not written a clear license. Second, for its clear misinterpretations
> of copyright law. Rosen believes that the courts will favor the GPL's
> restrictions on derivative works, but not on collective works. Beyond
> this fairly clear risk is any additional court finding concerning the
> GPL, for no one ever really knows what a court will decide.
> In any case the GPL will have been exposed as a paper tiger, the
> result of a too-wide stretching to achieve the death of proprietary
> software. No one in the Open Source world wants a public and legal
> repudiation of an archetypal Open Source license. The sensible thing
> would be for the FSF to adopt Rosen's Open Source License, and for
> everyone who has put out software under the GPL to relicense it under
> the OSL.
> </quote>

Andrew Donnellan
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