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Re: [ProgSoc] GPL
On Sun, May 06, 2001 at 01:47:11PM +1000, Justin Warren wrote:
> 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
> 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.
There appear to be a fair few lawyers on this list so perhaps they can
help us out.
When a contract, such as the GNU GPL, is widely used but is never tested
in a court and it does become tested what is the likely outcome?
I recall some legal principles saying that when two parties agree to
a contract, such as the GNu GPL, the court will use that as a basis
for determing ramifications. Particularly if the contract is widely used.
> 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.
The main grey area seems to be linking and if you do does your code thus
become licensed under the GPL or not?
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