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Re: Use of GPL'd code with proprietary programs


From: Christopher C. Stacy
Subject: Re: Use of GPL'd code with proprietary programs
Date: Fri, 09 Jul 2004 17:06:01 GMT
User-agent: Gnus/5.09 (Gnus v5.9.0) Emacs/21.2

>>>>> On Fri, 09 Jul 2004 13:28:28 +0200, Martin Dickopp ("Martin") writes:

 Martin> address@hidden (Christopher C. Stacy) writes:
 >> Eben's other assertion is that the GPL is a license contract

 Martin> Such an assertion would be in direct contrast to various of his
 Martin> writings, e.g. <http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/enforcing-gpl.html>.
 Martin> Can you please provide a reference where he said that the GPL is
 Martin> a contract?

A key point in Moglen's arguments, presented in the affidavit that he
submitted in the PROGRESS case that I cited, is the intent of the license.
We are speaking of "enforcing" an "agreement".

Are you disputing that Moglen's position is that the intent of the
license should be a determining factor in whether or not its terms
have been breached?

 >> It seems more likely that they knew exactly what they were doing, and
 >> that from the outset they were hoping to establish new case law by
 >> changing the legal meaning of "derivative work",

 Martin> I don't think dynamic linking was all that common when the GPL was
 Martin> crafted; I'm not even sure if it existed at all.  Can you provide some
 Martin> evidence that and how they took it into account?

Dynamic linking goes back to the 1960s; Stallman was involved in the work
starting in the mid 1970s.  I worked with him at MIT decades ago and have
personal knowledge that RMS was entirely aware of this technology, which 
was old hat and quite common by then.  (Unix didn't get it until much later,
though, and personal computers hadn't been invented yet.)

But I don't see how that's very relevant, since the GPL and the FSF's legal
counsel both specifically say that they are talking about dynamic linking.
What are you trying to assert here?

 >> Trying to set such precedents would be consistent with the goals of
 >> their clearly stated agenda, which boils down to a radical
 >> de-legitimization of intellectual property rights

 Martin> Sorry, but I have no idea what you're talking about, mostly because
 Martin> "intellectual property" is a fuzzy term which encompasses such wildly
 Martin> different concepts as copyright, patents, and trademarks.

 Martin> Can you provide some evidence that the FSF's positions on copyright,
 Martin> patents, and trademarks are identical, if that's what you're saying?

I'm speaking primarily of copyrights here, but RMS also fights software
patents.  Read some of his writings, especially the earlier ones, or just
talk to him.  The part where he says that all software should be "free, like
the air that we breath" captures the general spirit, along with the theme
that original works will always be created for their own sake, without any
monetary reward to the author, and that "nobody is forced to be a programmer".

 >> So, Martin Dickopp, can you explain the answer that you gave Alexander
 >> Terekhov by telling us what "derivative work" you are referring to and
 >> how it was created?

 Martin> Yes, Christopher C. Stacy, I think that the interpretation of the
 Martin> FSF is most likely to persist in court, on the ground that so far,
 Martin> no violator has had the guts to challenge the FSF's position in court.

Well, you say, "Yes", but then you don't answer the question at all!
Instead, you make the claim that the FSF's interpretation has "persisted"
in court (which it has not) and then you ask me an unrelted question.  
I'll answer your question here.  People don't bring legal actions to prove 
their "guts", and it's simply the case that the GPL has not been tested in
court.  Can you show me some examples of where you think some of these
"large corporations" that you speak of should have brought such an action?

So, Martin Dickopp, can you explain the answer that you gave Alexander Terekhov
by telling us what "derivative work" you are referring to and how it was 
created?

I'm only interested in an answer to that one specific question, and until
that's answered, I won't be responding to you at all on any other topic.


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