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Re: Final text of GPL v3

Chris Waters writes:

> All free licenses, and especially all copyleft licenses, require the
> waiver of certain legal rights (such as the right to sue for copyright
> infringement).

Explain, please.  There have been a number of copyright complaints
filed (in Germany and the US) over GPLed software.  The GPL's copyleft
nature did not bar those lawsuits.  I am not aware of any that went to
trial in the US, but at least one German lawsuit alleging GPL
violations was decided[1] for the licensor, and other cases (in both
countries) have settled with the defendant agreeing to comply with the

[1]- http://www.gpl-violations.org/news/20060922-dlink-judgement_frankfurt.html

> The requirement in copyleft to provide source code can
> also be seen as a fee--in fact, this has been cited as a reason for
> considering the GPLv2 valid, enforcible and non- discriminatory with
> respect to anti-trust law.

That unattributed "has been cited" reads like a poor appeal to an
indefinite authority.  Daniel Wallace's failed anti-trust lawsuit
_cited_ such provisions as reasons to consider the GPLv2 invalid,
unenforceable and an unlawful conspiracy with respect to anti-trust
law.  We can see how far making that claim got him.

(Incidentally, neither the district court's ruling[2] to dismiss
Wallace's complaint, nor the appeals court's order[3] upholding
dismissal, treat the requirement to provide source code as a fee.  To
the contrary, their orders seem to view it primarily as a benefit to
the end user and to the software community.

[2]- http://www.groklaw.net/pdf/WallaceFSFGrantingDismiss.pdf
[3]- http://www.ca7.uscourts.gov/fdocs/docs.fwx?submit=showbr&shofile=06-2454_008.pdf

While there is a fairly broad range of what people on this list think
is a "fee", in the end, providing source code for software that one
distributes has never been considered a fee.  Giving up tangible
property, actions unrelated to software (such as petting a cat) and
intellectual property unrelated to the software in question (such as
over-broad patent defense clauses) have been considered fees.
Concessions necessary to exercise software freedoms have not.

Michael Poole

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