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Re: An Open Letter of Thanks to Alexander Terekhov
Re: An Open Letter of Thanks to Alexander Terekhov
Tue, 09 Feb 2010 20:04:37 -0500
Thunderbird 220.127.116.11 (Windows/20090812)
Nick Daly wrote:
I just wanted to compose a little note thanking you for your recent
work. You've clarified a few licensing questions that I've had by
getting me thinking and providing the best-ever examples of the most
important details. In reference to the GemRB project and it's
separate-but-associated-installer, I was troubled, as both the
project and its installer are distributed together, but will soon be
under different versions of the GPL. Thus, two licenses would exist
across a single project. Fortunately, you provided the most eloquent
guidance to the situation's solution with your incessant nattering
about the interpretation of "mere aggregation" and "interpretation".
What do you think you're doing here? Working on a Pulitzer?
Best I could understand, you were arguing that the "mere aggregation"
clause requires all co-distributed software to be under a single
version GPL if any of it is under the GPL.
Then an idea occurred to me: to clarify the situation, why not look
at precedent? Not the precedent of the courts of which there is very
little precedent (for better or worse) to go on.
Damn those pesky courts! Ignore them! What do they know?
The heart of your little tirade: Skip the legal implications -- Free
Softies already known their legal grounds consist of quicksand. Let's
substitute rhetorical political philosophy!
No, instead, look at the precedent of history itself. If your
interpretation of "aggregation" were correct, the Debian project
would've been sued out of existence over a decade ago by Richard
Stallman himself or it wouldn't distribute any GPLed software as the
GPL would contradict their `Debian Free Software Guidelines`_ (number
Great rhetorical dodge! Slip in a subjunctive mood hypothetical.
Yeah... "if" a frog had wings he wouldn't bump his ass either.
Obviously, neither of these situations is true so the "mere
aggregation" clause, as otherwise pointed out, must apply only to
"derivative works" as defined by the FSF. .. _`Debian Free Software
Obvious to whom? First you counsel disregarding the courts -- then in a
subsequent paragraph base assumptions on a hypothetical "sued out of
existence". What's it gonna' Bunky? No precedent from the courts or
"sued out of existence"?
I wondered about that for a few days; why your argument would shed so
much light on the situation. Then another idea occurred to me: why
you focus on the interpretation of "interpretation" itself. You have
a rather unusual argument style - you have a fantastic desire to
quote other authorities in your arguments.
"[U]nless we wish anarchy to prevail within the federal judicial
system, a precedent of this Court must be followed by the lower
federal courts no matter how misguided the judges of those courts
may think it to be."; HUTTO v. DAVIS, 454 U.S. 370 (1982).
Some of your posts are literally nothing more than other's articles,
but that strategy underlies your method of argument. You quote
anyone's opinion as long as they agree with your position, whether or
not they're actually qualified and positioned to make the decisions.
And instead, you're the guy best equipped to "judge whether or not
they're actually qualified to make decisions"? I like that! Chutzpa in
the face of authority.
Interpretation, as you make abundantly clear, is important because
interpretation differs. However, an interpretation matters only when
it's the interpretation of someone actually in a position of power to
make a decision in the first place.
Uh... like the federal courts and their precedental rulings?
It's like saying elections are decided by pundits instead of the
Is that like saying legal decisions are decided by socialist philosophy
instead of court precedent?
It's similar to the truth, but still wrong in essence and example.
Finally, thanks for pointing out the Moglen presentation, that was an
Yeah. Moglen was that legal genius who inspired RMS's Free Software GPL
movement by announcing to the World that:
"Licenses are not contracts: the work's user is obliged to remain within
the bounds of the license not because she voluntarily promised, but
because she doesn't have any right to act at all except as the license
This, despite the fact that in 1927 the Supreme Court ruled that a
license IS a contract and that in the ensuing 83 years, no federal court
has ever ruled a copyright license to be anything other than a contract.
Eben Moglen is a fucking socialist crackpot.
So, basically, Alexander, thank you. Thank you for pointing out the
flaws in your arguments by precedent and counterexample and by
furthering the purpose of all those annoying acronyms that protect
the creative freedoms of the downstream software user.
Alexander understands full well that copyright license interpretation
is decided by the courts using precendent and other scholarly legal
Bullshit socialist philosophy walks and legal precedent talks.
Seriously, if your effort was to strengthen the philosophical basis
and position of the GPL, you've done a great job. You're a really
cool undercover GNU agent. Thanks! Nick -- GPG: 0x4C682009 | 084E
D805 31D8 5391 1D27 0DE1 9780 FD4D 4C68 2009