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Re: [ProgSoc] GPL
On Fri, May 04, 2001 at 07:25:49PM +1000, jedd wrote:
> On Fri, 4 May 2001 17:35, Matt wrote:
> ] people have been detected releasing binary only software that came
> ] from GPL'ed software. take for example BeOS and their bootloader. the
> ] easy way to tell is normally similar feature sets. similar bugs. and
> ] of course symbol and constant similarities in the binaries.. as far as
> ] the GPL is concerned most companies must view it as being most likely
> ] to be enforceable as no one yet has "run the gauntlet" and tried to
> ] shoot it down in court.
> It's unlikely that Fred ( I think it was he at the time) would have been
> in a position to take Bill to court and attempt to prove this one way
> or the other, however ... which has always been the problem with
> the GPL. Typically the kinds of people that apply the GPL to their
> code are the kinds of people that can't (due to time, money, etc)
> research potential breachs and partake in legal action. This may
> change -- for example, you'd be a damn fool to try to take any of
> IBM's changes to Apache and flog 'em as a binary-only release.
I believe this is one of the reasons you are asked to assign copyright to
the EFF. As an organisation, they can then fight copyright battles on
your behalf, helping to combat the ability of large corps to buy more
I think people who assign GPL (or similar licenses) are aware that some
surreptitious use of their code is going to happen. I mean, how many
corps have you worked for that have a license for _each_ and _every_ copy
of Word they run? Most make a pretty good effort, but there are always a
few rogue copies around. You can expect something similar to occur for
GPL software. It's the overt misappropriation of code for evil uses that
annoys the GPL crowd. The PR backlash companies have received from being
suspected of not playing fair has so far been a sufficient deterrent from
widespread, overt, code misuse, IMHO.
I think the OpenSource/GNU et al crowd are champing at the bit for someone
to 'Make Our Day' and overtly misuse some GPL code so we can have our
test case. Assuming the GPL wins out, it would give it sufficient legal
clout through precedent to stop companies misusing GPL code.
Then again, it's likely that a whole heap of new legal battles would ensue
based on grey areas in how people have used GPL code.
Justin Warren - Senior Consultant, Edion Pty Ltd
email@example.com | http://www.edion.com
"/net is just an interface to NFS, not a Magic Fairy Directory of Power."
-- Mike Sphar, in a.s.r
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