the FSF's GPLv3 launch conference

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the FSF's GPLv3 launch conference

Sam Hartman-5
Howdy legal mavens,

Don Armstrong and I are going to be at the FSF's GPLv3 launch conference[1] in
Boston, Massachusetts on 16 and 17 January.

Because the text of the first public draft is being held back until the
actual conference, there is as yet nothing to review.  (If there are
pre-release drafts in circulation outside the FSF, I'm not aware of it.)

The FSF, however, is not hosting this conference so that they can present
a new revision of the GPL as a fait accompli to a captive audience.
Rather, they want the community's feedback.  (See ยง1.4 of the GPLv3 Process
Definition document[2].)

To that end, I want to be as good a representative as I can be of the
Debian Project's views on the GPL -- what's good about it, what's not so
good, and what we'd like to see in a future revision.  I have therefore
created a page on our Wiki where our developers and users can share there
thoughts[3].

I realize not everyone is going to have the same opinions and goals.  It is
not time yet to attempt to forge a position statement on GPLv3 -- we
haven't even yet seen the first draft of it.  Instead, what I seek is to
"take the temperature" of the project on the GPL generally.  Don and I will
represent the viewpoints as faithfully as we can.

I'll be making a posting to -project separately, but I explicitly wanted to
invite the involvement of the subscribers to this list.  This is, after
all, the place where the majority of our license analyses take place.

Please take the time to visit

  http://wiki.debian.org/GPL_v3_Launch_Comments

in the next week or so and share your ideas.

Thank you.  I look forward to representing the Project on this exciting
occasion.

[1] http://gplv3.fsf.org/launch
[2] http://gplv3.fsf.org/process-definition
[3] http://wiki.debian.org/GPL_v3_Launch_Comments

--
G. Branden Robinson
Debian Project Leader
[hidden email]
http://people.debian.org/~branden/

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Re: the FSF's GPLv3 launch conference

Alexander Terekhov-3
The gang should better stop misstating the copyright act, to begin with.
But actually it doesn't really matter given that Wallace is going to put
the entire GPL'd code base into quasi public domain pretty soon anyway
(antitrust violation -> copyright misuse -> quasi public domain/copyright
impotence). http://www.ip-wars.net/public_docs/wallace_v_fsf_36.pdf

regards,
alexander.

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Re: the FSF's GPLv3 launch conference

Benj. Mako Hill
In reply to this post by Sam Hartman-5
<quote who="Branden Robinson / Debian Project Leader" date="Thu, Jan 05, 2006 at 02:37:47PM -0500">
> Don Armstrong and I are going to be at the FSF's GPLv3 launch
> conference[1] in Boston, Massachusetts on 16 and 17 January.

I'll be there as well and will be happy to represent and communicate
Debian's questions and comments  as well. :)

Regards,
Mako

--
Benjamin Mako Hill
[hidden email]
http://mako.cc/


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Re: the FSF's GPLv3 launch conference [OT]

Kevin B. McCarty
In reply to this post by Alexander Terekhov-3
Alexander Terekhov wrote:

> The gang should better stop misstating the copyright act, to begin with.
> But actually it doesn't really matter given that Wallace is going to put
> the entire GPL'd code base into quasi public domain pretty soon anyway
> (antitrust violation -> copyright misuse -> quasi public domain/copyright
> impotence). http://www.ip-wars.net/public_docs/wallace_v_fsf_36.pdf

(first, obligatory IANAL)

I think this is unlikely, given that the plaintiff's claim there is
based on a false assertion.  Quoted from your cited document, page 4:

[begin quote]

The GPL term 2(b) also fixes the maximum price "at no charge" for the
market value of a derivative or collective computer program thus created
by the pooled code.  All future third parties who accept the GPL
copyright license must distribute their collaborative creations at no
charge.

[end quote]

This is not true.  2(b) says that you must *license* work you derive
from GPL'ed material and distribute for free, but section 1 specifically
says "You may charge a fee for the physical act of transferring a copy,
and you may at your option offer warranty protection in exchange for a
fee."  There is no limit specified on the fee that may be charged.

Those interested in this case may note that this is the plaintiff's
*fourth* amendment of his original complaint; the judge dismissed his
third amended complaint without prejudice here:
http://www.internetcases.com/library/cases/2005-11-28_wallace_v_fsf.pdf

Some more references are available from Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Wallace_(plaintiff)

--
Kevin B. McCarty <[hidden email]>   Physics Department
WWW: http://www.princeton.edu/~kmccarty/    Princeton University
GPG: public key ID 4F83C751                 Princeton, NJ 08544


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Re: the FSF's GPLv3 launch conference [OT]

Alexander Terekhov-3
On 1/5/06, Kevin B. McCarty <[hidden email]> wrote:

> Alexander Terekhov wrote:
>
> > The gang should better stop misstating the copyright act, to begin with.
> > But actually it doesn't really matter given that Wallace is going to put
> > the entire GPL'd code base into quasi public domain pretty soon anyway
> > (antitrust violation -> copyright misuse -> quasi public domain/copyright
> > impotence). http://www.ip-wars.net/public_docs/wallace_v_fsf_36.pdf
>
> (first, obligatory IANAL)
>
> I think this is unlikely, given that the plaintiff's claim there is
> based on a false assertion.

It might sound false to you but only if you take it out of context
which is cost of intellectual property and not cost of media,
warranty, or whatnot.

To quote the FSF's own brief (#35):

"By facilitating the development and distribution of software to
consumers at no cost other than the cost of the media on which
it is distributed, the GNU General Public License ("GPL") ..."

violaties the antitrust laws. And even OSI knows it.

----
The general counsel for the Open Source Initiative acknowledges
in his recent treatise: "There is also a problem that may prevent
enforcement of the GPL's at no charge provision. It may be an
illegal restraint of trade in some countries. Ordinarily, companies
are allowed to set their own prices, and it is improper for a GPL
licensor to restrain that in anyway." L. Rosen, Open Source
Licensing 132 (2004),"
----

http://www.rosenlaw.com/Rosen_Ch06.pdf

regards,
alexander.

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Re: the FSF's GPLv3 launch conference

Anthony DeRobertis
In reply to this post by Alexander Terekhov-3
Alexander Terekhov wrote:
> The gang should better stop misstating the copyright act, to begin with.
> But actually it doesn't really matter given that Wallace is going to put
> the entire GPL'd code base into quasi public domain pretty soon anyway
> (antitrust violation -> copyright misuse -> quasi public domain/copyright
> impotence). http://www.ip-wars.net/public_docs/wallace_v_fsf_36.pdf

I would like to take a moment to predict that this event will not transpire.

Though this brief is rather funny to read. For example, (re-typing due
to it being a damned image), page 8 reads in part:

"If we exam [sic] case (i) 'pricing below the level necessary to sell
their products' the obvious result of the GPL is the destruction of
interbrand competition, since no rival competitor can remain viable by
vending his product (intellectual property) at a total loss. New
developers and competitors cannot enter a market for which there is no
incentive or reward."

The obvious conclusion one would draw from this is that there are no
competitors to Linux or, at least, that all the existing ones are
quickly being killed off. However, a quick examination of reality shows
this not to be the case.

Every mention of a "uncharged co-conspirator" is hillarious as well. I
assume that, say, IBM's attourneys would pound him into the ground and
then force him to pay for the hammer. [Like they will no doubt do in his
other case]

His claim of rending part of the constitution meaningless (end of p9,
very beginning of p10) is pretty good, too.



Lastly, don't you think that that were there ANY validity to these
points that a large, well-known operating systems vendor located in
Washington state would be pursuing them, with its far larger legal budget?


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Re: the FSF's GPLv3 launch conference

Glenn Maynard
On Fri, Jan 06, 2006 at 10:59:01PM -0500, Anthony DeRobertis wrote:
> Alexander Terekhov wrote:
> > The gang should better stop misstating the copyright act, to begin with.
> > But actually it doesn't really matter given that Wallace is going to put
> > the entire GPL'd code base into quasi public domain pretty soon anyway
> > (antitrust violation -> copyright misuse -> quasi public domain/copyright
> > impotence). http://www.ip-wars.net/public_docs/wallace_v_fsf_36.pdf
>
> I would like to take a moment to predict that this event will not transpire.

FWIW, I read Alexander's message as a vaguely amusing troll, given its
tone and irrelevance.  Feeds the trolls if you like, though.  :)

--
Glenn Maynard


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Re: the FSF's GPLv3 launch conference

Alexander Terekhov-3
In reply to this post by Anthony DeRobertis
On 1/7/06, Anthony DeRobertis <[hidden email]> wrote:
[...]
> The obvious conclusion one would draw from this is that there are no
> competitors to Linux or, at least, that all the existing ones are
> quickly being killed off. However, a quick examination of reality shows
> this not to be the case.

It doesn't have to be the case for an action under 16 of the Clayton
Act for threatened harm caused by violation of 1 of the Sherman Act
to succeed.

>
> Every mention of a "uncharged co-conspirator" is hillarious as well.

Perhaps because you don't understand what it means as well. It
means uncharged parties which entered into GPL agreement and
performed accordingly.

regards,
alexander.

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Re: the FSF's GPLv3 launch conference

Alexander Terekhov-3
In reply to this post by Glenn Maynard
On 1/7/06, Glenn Maynard <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On Fri, Jan 06, 2006 at 10:59:01PM -0500, Anthony DeRobertis wrote:
> > Alexander Terekhov wrote:
> > > The gang should better stop misstating the copyright act, to begin with.
> > > But actually it doesn't really matter given that Wallace is going to put
> > > the entire GPL'd code base into quasi public domain pretty soon anyway
> > > (antitrust violation -> copyright misuse -> quasi public domain/copyright
> > > impotence). http://www.ip-wars.net/public_docs/wallace_v_fsf_36.pdf
> >
> > I would like to take a moment to predict that this event will not transpire.
>
> FWIW, I read Alexander's message as a vaguely amusing troll, given its
> tone and irrelevance.  Feeds the trolls if you like, though.  :)

Well, Wallace v GPL aside for a moment, regarding misstatements of the
copyright act in the GPL, here's a quote from Lee Hollaar (the author of
http://digital-law-online.info/lpdi1.0/treatise2.html):

http://groups.google.com/group/misc.int-property/msg/0e12f3571b78d7bd

----
In article <[hidden email]> Bruce Lewis
<[hidden email]> writes:

>Alexander Terekhov <[hidden email]> writes:
>> And what's the point of "and distribute"? As an owner of a copy
>> lawfully made I'm free to distribute it.
>
>US copyright statute, chapter 1, section 106(1) and (3) defines copying
>and distrubution as separate exclusive rights.
>
>http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#106
>
>I don't know why these rights are listed separately either, but it seems
>prudent that if you want to grant both rights you should be explicit
>about it, rather than assuming right (1) implies right (3).

Because it was felt that both somebody who reproduces works but does
not distribute them to the public, and somebody who distributes works
to the public that were reproduced by another, should both be infringers?

As for the reproduction right (1) implying the distribution right (3),
it's not an implication, but a special rule in United States copyright
law spelled out in Section 109.  (It is commonly called "first sale,"
but the actual parameters of the rule are specified in the statute
and not some lay reading of "first," "sale," or even "first sale.")

The heart of the provision is its first sentence:
     Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106(3), the owner of a
     particular copy or phonorecord lawfully made under this title, or
     any person authorized by such owner, is entitled, without the
     authority of the copyright owner, to sell or otherwise dispose
     of the possession of that copy or phonorecord.

But it goes on to state exceptions to this rule (primarily for the
rental of phonorecords and software) and exceptions to these exceptions,
not part of the original Copyright Act of 1976.

But if one has permission to make lawful copies, one does not need any
additional permission to distribute those copies to the public.

The Copyright Office has noted an interesting potential quirk in the
way this provision is worded.  The test is whether the copy was
"lawfully MADE" indicating that we look only to the time of the
creation of a copy to determine whether this provision applies.  The
Supreme Court said in the Sony Betamax decision that copies of TV
programs made for purposes of time-shifting were lawfully made because
they were a fair use.  Can those copies then be sold under the rule
of Section 109?

Note that the GPL does not acknowledge Section 109 when it states
"However, nothing else grants you permission to modify or distribute
the Program or its derivative works."  It also ignores Section 117
when, which gives "the owner of a copy of a computer program" the
right to "make or authorize the making of another copy OR ADAPTATION
of that computer program" if it is "an essential step in the
utilization of the computer program in conjunction with a machine".

As for Eben Moglen's assertion that "Licenses are not contracts" in
http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/enforcing-gpl.html (previously cited),
he offers little justification for the statement:
    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 permits.

In light of Sections 109 and 117 (and possibly other exceptions),
that statement is wrong with respect to United States copyright law.
Just look at the wording of Section 109 -- "is entitled, WITHOUT THE
AUTHORITY OF THE COPYRIGHT OWNER".
----

regards,
alexander.

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Re: the FSF's GPLv3 launch conference

Alexander Terekhov-3
And one more..

On 1/7/06, Alexander Terekhov <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 1/7/06, Glenn Maynard <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > On Fri, Jan 06, 2006 at 10:59:01PM -0500, Anthony DeRobertis wrote:
> > > Alexander Terekhov wrote:
> > > > The gang should better stop misstating the copyright act, to begin with.
> > > > But actually it doesn't really matter given that Wallace is going to put
> > > > the entire GPL'd code base into quasi public domain pretty soon anyway
> > > > (antitrust violation -> copyright misuse -> quasi public domain/copyright
> > > > impotence). http://www.ip-wars.net/public_docs/wallace_v_fsf_36.pdf
> > >
> > > I would like to take a moment to predict that this event will not transpire.
> >
> > FWIW, I read Alexander's message as a vaguely amusing troll, given its
> > tone and irrelevance.  Feeds the trolls if you like, though.  :)
>
> Well, Wallace v GPL aside for a moment, regarding misstatements of the
> copyright act in the GPL, here's a quote from Lee Hollaar (the author of
> http://digital-law-online.info/lpdi1.0/treatise2.html):
>
> http://groups.google.com/group/misc.int-property/msg/0e12f3571b78d7bd
>
> ----
> In article <[hidden email]> Bruce Lewis
> <[hidden email]> writes:
> >Alexander Terekhov <[hidden email]> writes:
> >> And what's the point of "and distribute"? As an owner of a copy
> >> lawfully made I'm free to distribute it.
> >
> >US copyright statute, chapter 1, section 106(1) and (3) defines copying
> >and distrubution as separate exclusive rights.
> >
> >http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#106
> >
> >I don't know why these rights are listed separately either, but it seems
> >prudent that if you want to grant both rights you should be explicit
> >about it, rather than assuming right (1) implies right (3).
>
> Because it was felt that both somebody who reproduces works but does
> not distribute them to the public, and somebody who distributes works
> to the public that were reproduced by another, should both be infringers?
>
> As for the reproduction right (1) implying the distribution right (3),
> it's not an implication, but a special rule in United States copyright
> law spelled out in Section 109.  (It is commonly called "first sale,"
> but the actual parameters of the rule are specified in the statute
> and not some lay reading of "first," "sale," or even "first sale.")
>
> The heart of the provision is its first sentence:
>      Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106(3), the owner of a
>      particular copy or phonorecord lawfully made under this title, or
>      any person authorized by such owner, is entitled, without the
>      authority of the copyright owner, to sell or otherwise dispose
>      of the possession of that copy or phonorecord.
>
> But it goes on to state exceptions to this rule (primarily for the
> rental of phonorecords and software) and exceptions to these exceptions,
> not part of the original Copyright Act of 1976.
>
> But if one has permission to make lawful copies, one does not need any
> additional permission to distribute those copies to the public.
>
> The Copyright Office has noted an interesting potential quirk in the
> way this provision is worded.  The test is whether the copy was
> "lawfully MADE" indicating that we look only to the time of the
> creation of a copy to determine whether this provision applies.  The
> Supreme Court said in the Sony Betamax decision that copies of TV
> programs made for purposes of time-shifting were lawfully made because
> they were a fair use.  Can those copies then be sold under the rule
> of Section 109?
>
> Note that the GPL does not acknowledge Section 109 when it states
> "However, nothing else grants you permission to modify or distribute
> the Program or its derivative works."  It also ignores Section 117
> when, which gives "the owner of a copy of a computer program" the
> right to "make or authorize the making of another copy OR ADAPTATION
> of that computer program" if it is "an essential step in the
> utilization of the computer program in conjunction with a machine".
>
> As for Eben Moglen's assertion that "Licenses are not contracts" in
> http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/enforcing-gpl.html (previously cited),
> he offers little justification for the statement:
>     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 permits.
>
> In light of Sections 109 and 117 (and possibly other exceptions),
> that statement is wrong with respect to United States copyright law.
> Just look at the wording of Section 109 -- "is entitled, WITHOUT THE
> AUTHORITY OF THE COPYRIGHT OWNER".
> ----

http://groups.google.com/group/misc.int-property/msg/3905731f0a55c489

----
One can tie oneself in knots trying to make sense of the GPL and
the statements made about it.  It ignores provisions of the copyright
statutes that allow the modification or redistribution of works
without permission of the copyright owner.  It talks about "derived"
works which don't seem to be the same as "derivative works."  And
the explanations from RMS and others often make little sense, as
in the case where something was a derived work until somebody wrote
a non-GPLed math library compatible with the GPLed one.

One has to ask oneself whether it makes any difference if the GPL
is a "contract" or not, keeping in mind that there hasn't been any
case where the FSF has sued anybody over the GPL.  I suspect that
if they did sue somebody, they would throw in a breach of contract
claim just in case.

It will be interesting to see what the upcoming third version of
the GPL will be like, considering that it is being written by somebody
with legal knowledge, and not just RMS.
----

regards,
alexander.

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Re: the FSF's GPLv3 launch conference

Anthony DeRobertis
In reply to this post by Alexander Terekhov-3
Alexander Terekhov wrote:

> It doesn't have to be the case for an action under 16 of the Clayton
> Act for threatened harm caused by violation of 1 of the Sherman Act
> to succeed.

Well, there is not much point in debating it: I suspect we'll have a
court ruling on the FSF's motion to dismiss his fourth amended complaint
soon enough.

>
>
>>Every mention of a "uncharged co-conspirator" is hillarious as well.
>
>
> Perhaps because you don't understand what it means as well.

I understand what it means, and that's why I find it hillarious.


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Re: the FSF's GPLv3 launch conference

Anthony DeRobertis
In reply to this post by Alexander Terekhov-3
Alexander Terekhov wrote:

> Well, Wallace v GPL aside for a moment, regarding misstatements of the
> copyright act in the GPL, here's a quote from Lee Hollaar (the author of
> http://digital-law-online.info/lpdi1.0/treatise2.html):

I think if you want to suggest to the FSF that the language "[h]owever,
nothing else grants you permission to modify or distribute the Program
or its derivative works" should be changed (or struck entirely), that'd
be a perfectly reasonable suggestion.

It can also be quite untrue in the case of a dual-licenced work.


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Re: the FSF's GPLv3 launch conference

Alexander Terekhov-3
My suggestion to the FSF is to retire the [L]GPL ASAP and close the shop.
I suggest to relicense the entire GPL'd code base under OSL/EPL/CPL/
real-stuff-like-that.

regards,
alexander.

P.S. http://www.stromian.com/Corner/Feb2005.html

<quote>

Rosen is too polite to call for replacing the FSF licenses with his own,
but in his Chapter 6: Reciprocity and the GPL, he makes many
observations, including:

1) The FSF's refusal of outside improvements to the GPL and its
denunciation of them as "restrictions" handicaps the GPL in the courts:
"Their avoidance of restrictions has delayed the adoption of new and
useful licensing concepts for open source software." (p. 106). These
"restrictions" are actually items such as clear grants of patent
licenses and the like.

2) The FSF language about software "containing" GPL'd software tries to
turn collective works into derivative works, and is contrary to the
usual practice of copyright law (p. 114).

3) Further instances of unclear language that vary from simply untrue
(the GPL mandate that "you must give the recipients all the rights that
you have," says Rosen, "is unnecessarily frightening and is not true"--
because you still have the right to give the work to others, p. 111) to
inept (the provisions for linking to LGPL'd code is "an impenetrable
maze of technobabble," p. 124).

4) The FSF's ideas about linking to GPL'd software (see 2) and 3) above)
conflict with copyright law and practice to the extent that there is no
need for the LGPL because a user who does not modify a GPL'd work of
software, but simply incorporates it into a collective work and
distributes it, is well within copyright law. This means, simply, that
one can link to GPL'd software and distribute the collective work. If
the software has a use, simply using it is permitted under copyright
law.

The problems resulting from the FSF's unwillingness or inability to
bring their GPL/LGPL licensing into conformity with copyright law, and
with modern software licensing practice under that law, will lead it
into eventual disrepute. So far the FSF has been scrupulous about
avoiding court, relying on quiet persuasion that moves over to loud
public indignation and pressure on the infringer from many quarters,
and it has been successful so far. But its reputation for ferocious
fanaticism frightens away not only those who would abuse the GPL, but
also those who can't come to terms with the FSF's interpretation of
its licenses. By holding the opinion that a collective work is
actually a derivative work (and therefore violates the GPL) the FSF
invites gradual and then wholesale violations of the GPL, and
increasing difficulty in determining which cases will be defensible
and which will have to be ignored in order not to expose the FSF's
interpretations to adjudication.

In cases in which the FSF is not the copyright holder, and therefore
lacks standing in court, the actual copyright holders will have to
reach the same decision about bringing an infringement suit. The
worst case would be that of distributing binary-only software linked
to unmodified GPL'd software. A good prediction of the outcome would
be that the GPL will be found invalid in some way. First, for its
ambiguities: courts decide in favor of licensees if the licensor has
not written a clear license. Second, for its clear misinterpretations
of copyright law. Rosen believes that the courts will favor the GPL's
restrictions on derivative works, but not on collective works. Beyond
this fairly clear risk is any additional court finding concerning the
GPL, for no one ever really knows what a court will decide.

In any case the GPL will have been exposed as a paper tiger, the
result of a too-wide stretching to achieve the death of proprietary
software. No one in the Open Source world wants a public and legal
repudiation of an archetypal Open Source license. The sensible thing
would be for the FSF to adopt Rosen's Open Source License, and for
everyone who has put out software under the GPL to relicense it under
the OSL.

</quote>

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Re: the FSF's GPLv3 launch conference

Andrew Donnellan-3
<sarcasm>That would be *really* easy to do.</sarcasm> To relicense the
entire GPL codebase would mean every contributor to every GPL project
would have to agree, possibly in writing. There are thousands, maybe
millions of them.

And FSF is really likely to want to retire the GPL. Just note that the
sections of the copyright act you have quoted allow you to copy for
lawful purposes, and to sell your original copy *on the condition that
you dispose of it*. Only the GPL gives you the right to sell copies
*you* have made.

andrew

On 1/8/06, Alexander Terekhov <[hidden email]> wrote:

> My suggestion to the FSF is to retire the [L]GPL ASAP and close the shop.
> I suggest to relicense the entire GPL'd code base under OSL/EPL/CPL/
> real-stuff-like-that.
>
> regards,
> alexander.
>
> P.S. http://www.stromian.com/Corner/Feb2005.html
>
> <quote>
>
> Rosen is too polite to call for replacing the FSF licenses with his own,
> but in his Chapter 6: Reciprocity and the GPL, he makes many
> observations, including:
>
> 1) The FSF's refusal of outside improvements to the GPL and its
> denunciation of them as "restrictions" handicaps the GPL in the courts:
> "Their avoidance of restrictions has delayed the adoption of new and
> useful licensing concepts for open source software." (p. 106). These
> "restrictions" are actually items such as clear grants of patent
> licenses and the like.
>
> 2) The FSF language about software "containing" GPL'd software tries to
> turn collective works into derivative works, and is contrary to the
> usual practice of copyright law (p. 114).
>
> 3) Further instances of unclear language that vary from simply untrue
> (the GPL mandate that "you must give the recipients all the rights that
> you have," says Rosen, "is unnecessarily frightening and is not true"--
> because you still have the right to give the work to others, p. 111) to
> inept (the provisions for linking to LGPL'd code is "an impenetrable
> maze of technobabble," p. 124).
>
> 4) The FSF's ideas about linking to GPL'd software (see 2) and 3) above)
> conflict with copyright law and practice to the extent that there is no
> need for the LGPL because a user who does not modify a GPL'd work of
> software, but simply incorporates it into a collective work and
> distributes it, is well within copyright law. This means, simply, that
> one can link to GPL'd software and distribute the collective work. If
> the software has a use, simply using it is permitted under copyright
> law.
>
> The problems resulting from the FSF's unwillingness or inability to
> bring their GPL/LGPL licensing into conformity with copyright law, and
> with modern software licensing practice under that law, will lead it
> into eventual disrepute. So far the FSF has been scrupulous about
> avoiding court, relying on quiet persuasion that moves over to loud
> public indignation and pressure on the infringer from many quarters,
> and it has been successful so far. But its reputation for ferocious
> fanaticism frightens away not only those who would abuse the GPL, but
> also those who can't come to terms with the FSF's interpretation of
> its licenses. By holding the opinion that a collective work is
> actually a derivative work (and therefore violates the GPL) the FSF
> invites gradual and then wholesale violations of the GPL, and
> increasing difficulty in determining which cases will be defensible
> and which will have to be ignored in order not to expose the FSF's
> interpretations to adjudication.
>
> In cases in which the FSF is not the copyright holder, and therefore
> lacks standing in court, the actual copyright holders will have to
> reach the same decision about bringing an infringement suit. The
> worst case would be that of distributing binary-only software linked
> to unmodified GPL'd software. A good prediction of the outcome would
> be that the GPL will be found invalid in some way. First, for its
> ambiguities: courts decide in favor of licensees if the licensor has
> not written a clear license. Second, for its clear misinterpretations
> of copyright law. Rosen believes that the courts will favor the GPL's
> restrictions on derivative works, but not on collective works. Beyond
> this fairly clear risk is any additional court finding concerning the
> GPL, for no one ever really knows what a court will decide.
>
> In any case the GPL will have been exposed as a paper tiger, the
> result of a too-wide stretching to achieve the death of proprietary
> software. No one in the Open Source world wants a public and legal
> repudiation of an archetypal Open Source license. The sensible thing
> would be for the FSF to adopt Rosen's Open Source License, and for
> everyone who has put out software under the GPL to relicense it under
> the OSL.
>
> </quote>
>
>


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Re: the FSF's GPLv3 launch conference

Alexander Terekhov-3
On 1/7/06, Andrew Donnellan <[hidden email]> wrote:
> <sarcasm>That would be *really* easy to do.</sarcasm> To relicense the
> entire GPL codebase would mean every contributor to every GPL project
> would have to agree, possibly in writing. There are thousands, maybe
> millions of them.

If they don't mind quasi public domain... which is even better as far as
I'm concerned.

>
> And FSF is really likely to want to retire the GPL. Just note that the
> sections of the copyright act you have quoted allow you to copy for
> lawful purposes, and to sell your original copy *on the condition that
> you dispose of it*.

What "original copy" and "the condition" are you talking about? In order
to sell/dispose/distribute (as I see fit), I only have to be "the owner
of a particular copy or phonorecord lawfully made" under copyright law.
17 USC 109. A copy can be "lawfully made" if it is made by the copyright
owner, made with the authorization of the copyright owner (explicit or
implicit), or made under one of the exceptions to the copyright owner's
exclusive rights.

>                      Only the GPL gives you the right to sell copies
> *you* have made.

That may be true in the GNU Republic. How's the weather over there?

regards,
alexander.

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Re: the FSF's GPLv3 launch conference

Andrew Donnellan-3
On 1/8/06, Alexander Terekhov <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 1/7/06, Andrew Donnellan <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > <sarcasm>That would be *really* easy to do.</sarcasm> To relicense the
> > entire GPL codebase would mean every contributor to every GPL project
> > would have to agree, possibly in writing. There are thousands, maybe
> > millions of them.
>
> If they don't mind quasi public domain... which is even better as far as
> I'm concerned.
>
> >
> > And FSF is really likely to want to retire the GPL. Just note that the
> > sections of the copyright act you have quoted allow you to copy for
> > lawful purposes, and to sell your original copy *on the condition that
> > you dispose of it*.
>
> What "original copy" and "the condition" are you talking about? In order
> to sell/dispose/distribute (as I see fit), I only have to be "the owner
> of a particular copy or phonorecord lawfully made" under copyright law.
> 17 USC 109. A copy can be "lawfully made" if it is made by the copyright
> owner, made with the authorization of the copyright owner (explicit or

And that's what the GPL gives you.

> implicit), or made under one of the exceptions to the copyright owner's
> exclusive rights.
>
> >                      Only the GPL gives you the right to sell copies
> > *you* have made.
>
> That may be true in the GNU Republic. How's the weather over there?

Quite good.

andrew


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Re: the FSF's GPLv3 launch conference

Alexander Terekhov-3
On 1/7/06, Andrew Donnellan <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 1/8/06, Alexander Terekhov <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > On 1/7/06, Andrew Donnellan <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > > <sarcasm>That would be *really* easy to do.</sarcasm> To relicense the
> > > entire GPL codebase would mean every contributor to every GPL project
> > > would have to agree, possibly in writing. There are thousands, maybe
> > > millions of them.
> >
> > If they don't mind quasi public domain... which is even better as far as
> > I'm concerned.
> >
> > >
> > > And FSF is really likely to want to retire the GPL. Just note that the
> > > sections of the copyright act you have quoted allow you to copy for
> > > lawful purposes, and to sell your original copy *on the condition that
> > > you dispose of it*.
> >
> > What "original copy" and "the condition" are you talking about? In order
> > to sell/dispose/distribute (as I see fit), I only have to be "the owner
> > of a particular copy or phonorecord lawfully made" under copyright law.
> > 17 USC 109. A copy can be "lawfully made" if it is made by the copyright
> > owner, made with the authorization of the copyright owner (explicit or
>
> And that's what the GPL gives you.

Unrestricted downloads of the GPL'd stuff aside for a moment, the GPL
gives me a copy or two. Thank you. The distribution of those copies (as
I see fit) is made under 17 USC 109, not the GPL. Being not a contract
(according to the FSF), the GPL is irrelevant at the time of distribution.

regards,
alexander.

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Re: the FSF's GPLv3 launch conference

Andrew Donnellan-3
On 1/8/06, Alexander Terekhov <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Unrestricted downloads of the GPL'd stuff aside for a moment, the GPL
> gives me a copy or two. Thank you. The distribution of those copies (as
> I see fit) is made under 17 USC 109, not the GPL. Being not a contract
> (according to the FSF), the GPL is irrelevant at the time of distribution.

However, the law only gives you the right to sell and *dispose* the
work, e.g. selling a book. The law was not originally designed with
software in mind. So if you do not accept the GPL, then you can give a
copy of the program to me, but you will have to delete all of your own
copies.

This discussion is quite irrelevant - Alexander, if you have any
problems with the GPL that you want to be fixed, ask for them to be
discussed at the GPL3 conference. That's what it's for.

andrew

>
> regards,
> alexander.
>


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Re: the FSF's GPLv3 launch conference

Alexander Terekhov-3
On 1/7/06, Andrew Donnellan <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 1/8/06, Alexander Terekhov <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >
> > Unrestricted downloads of the GPL'd stuff aside for a moment, the GPL
> > gives me a copy or two. Thank you. The distribution of those copies (as
> > I see fit) is made under 17 USC 109, not the GPL. Being not a contract
> > (according to the FSF), the GPL is irrelevant at the time of distribution.
>
> However, the law only gives you the right to sell and *dispose* the
> work, e.g. selling a book. The law was not originally designed with
> software in mind. So if you do not accept the GPL, then you can give a
> copy of the program to me, but you will have to delete all of your own
> copies.

Brrr. That's yet another GNU law, I suppose.

>
> This discussion is quite irrelevant - Alexander, if you have any
> problems with the GPL that you want to be fixed, ask for them to be
> discussed at the GPL3 conference. That's what it's for.

The whole process is a PR thing and a tool for advancing rather silly
political agenda. Nothing more.

regards,
alexander.

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Re: the FSF's GPLv3 launch conference

Florian Weimer
In reply to this post by Alexander Terekhov-3
* Alexander Terekhov:

> Unrestricted downloads of the GPL'd stuff aside for a moment, the GPL
> gives me a copy or two. Thank you. The distribution of those copies (as
> I see fit) is made under 17 USC 109, not the GPL. Being not a contract
> (according to the FSF), the GPL is irrelevant at the time of distribution.

Sure, some parts of the GPL are highly questionable (especially the
termination clause).  But according to the usual interpretation of
copyright law, you are still not allowed to distribute modified copies
of a computer program, even if the original copy was obtain legally
from the copyright holder.  As a result, copyleft still works.  (Some
copyright owners even claim that changing their works in any way is
not allowed, but most countries recognize some kind of "right to
patch".)


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