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Re: The GPL means what you want it to mean


From: Rjack
Subject: Re: The GPL means what you want it to mean
Date: Mon, 06 Apr 2009 10:31:05 -0400
User-agent: Thunderbird 2.0.0.21 (Windows/20090302)

Alan Mackenzie wrote:
In gnu.misc.discuss Rjack <address@hidden> wrote:
Alan Mackenzie wrote:
In gnu.misc.discuss Rjack <address@hidden> wrote:
Thufir Hawat wrote:
On Sat, 04 Apr 2009 08:07:03 -0400, Rjack wrote:

Thufir Hawat wrote:
On Fri, 03 Apr 2009 12:35:51 -0400, Rjack wrote:

The logical conclusion of your argument is that the GPL is pointless.

And, since the BSD license is toothless, why even bother? Just license it the same way sqlite is licensed: public domain. That's the conclusion which can be drawn from your argument.

The conclusion that can be drawn from *my* argument is that using permissive licensed open source code such as BSD licensed programs will prevent someone from being hauled into federal court by a band of wild-eyed zealots who practice socialism in software licensing as a religion.

:-) The GPL is really crystal clear; it isn't some tricky document with hidden traps waiting to snap. A normally intelligent child could understand it. If you conform to its requirements, which are few and clear, you won't have any problem with "wild-eyed socialist zealots". If you don't like those requirements, use other code instead.

If *you* wish to present *your* argument that open source code should be released as public domain then present it as *your* argument since is certainly not *my* argument.
It seems to be *your* argument, sustained by your own interpretation of some judges' decisions, that licensing code under the GPL is tantamount to making it public domain.

You are not entitled to make up your own facts. Where have I ever
claimed that GPL licensed code is "tantamount"to public domain code? Please use Google and all the resources at your disposal to
 demonstrate that I have claimed such a thing.

Sorry, my mistake. You haven't claimed "tantamount to". Your claims are "tantamount to". That is my claim. ;-)

I have long argued that users who rely on GPL licensed code have
 grounds for a contract claim of promissory estoppel.

Whatever that means, exactly. ;-) You have repeatedly asserted that the GPL isn't a license, that it's a contract, and that one of
 upshots is that companies can violate the GPL without the
copyright holders being able to stop the violation by injunction,
or receive monetary damages. (I'm not quite sure you've said that
last bit, but I think you have). This seems to me to being the same
in practice as being in the public domain.

Where do you see the difference, in practice, between software being in the public domain, and software being licensed under the GPL, understood as you understand it?

Code in the public domain doesn't have ownership or other rights
attached to it. That's a BIG, BIG, difference between code in the
public domain and code subject to claims of promissory estoppel.
Claims of promissory estoppel would give a particular litigant rights
to use the code IF the claim meets the criteria:

"Certain elements must be established to invoke promissory estoppel. A
promisor — one who makes a promise — makes a gratuitous promise that
he should reasonably have expected to induce action or forbearance of
a definite and substantial character on the part of the promisee—one
to whom a promise has been made. The promisee justifiably relies on
the promise. A substantial detriment — that is, an economic loss —
ensues to the promisee from action or forbearance. Injustice can be
avoided only by enforcing the promise."
http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Promissory+Estoppel

For example, if someone uses your licensed code and invests a million
dollars in developing and improving the code then they shouldn't be
out a million dollars because the copyright license that *you* offered
turns out to be legally unenforceable. This principle is implicit in
the rule of contract interpretation which holds that contracts are
construed against the offering (drafting) party.

Sincerely,
Rjack :)


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