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Re: Mathworks-hosted GPL'd software

From: Richard Stallman
Subject: Re: Mathworks-hosted GPL'd software
Date: Wed, 17 Feb 2010 14:30:55 -0500

    > We must not say that.  We don't know for certain that their
    > restriction is legally effective.

    OK. I tried to clarify that this is just our viewpoint below.

We should not have any viewpoint on the question.  We should
not state any position about it.

As a general principle, you shouldn't even say it is "your viewpoint"
that an adversary's claims are valid.  That could be enough to lose
your legal rights.  Just don't go there!

    Right, probably not, but there should be some reasoning why we are
    doing this, and I think it should be explained that we are doing this
    because we believe that the MathWorks' limitation may be effective.

We are doing it because we can't be totally certain that it will never
(even in the future) be effective anywhere in the world.

    > Instead we should talk about the plain facts:
    > what Mathworks is TRYING to do.

    Technically, I think what MathWorks is TRYING to do is the most
    speculative part of this all, because I don't really know and I doubt
    anyone here does, we can only guess.

MathWorks says exactly what it is trying to do.  Namely, it is trying
to impose a legal restriction on the use of other people's code
downloaded from that site.

That is what we should tell the developers: Mathworks is trying to
impose a legal restriction on the use of their code.  In effect,
MathWorks pressured them to put a lax license on their code so that
MathWorks could restrict it.

    By this paragraph I was also intending to hint users that they should
    try to ask MathWorks about the situation and possibly express their
    discomfort (if they are discomforted). It is even possible that
    MathWorks will revise their decision.

Why just hint?  Let's urge them to tell MathWorks, in no uncertain
terms, that they won't stand for this.

We can do this by citing what MathWorks has tried to do,
We don't need to discuss whether it is legally valid, because
just trying is nasty enough.

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