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Re: SFLC's GPL court enforcement -- track record

From: rjack
Subject: Re: SFLC's GPL court enforcement -- track record
Date: Sat, 08 Dec 2007 07:40:29 -0500
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20071031)

Arnoud Engelfriet wrote:
On 2007-12-08, Bruce Lewis <> wrote:
The GPL's track record has been and continues to be 100% enforceable.

I've never seen a US case involving the GPL come to a verdict. Of course there are the German cases, but given the different legal
system you can hardly compare the outcome there to the USA.


U.S. Federal Courts are very sensitive to legal standing issues concerning "case and controversy" under Article III of the Constitution:

"[T]he first and fundamental question is that of jurisdiction, first, of this court, and then of the court from which the record comes. This question the court is bound to ask and answer for itself, even when not otherwise suggested, and without respect to the relation of the parties to it. The requirement that jurisdiction be established as a threshold matter spring[s] from the nature and limits of the judicial power of the United States and is inflexible and without exception." (citations and quotations omitted); Steel Co. v. Citizens for Better Environment, 523 U. S. 83 (1998)

The district court is apt to dismiss the GPL claims sua sponte when it realizes the plaintiffs are claiming injury for rights belonging not to the plaintiffs but "all third parties".

It is a matter of great embarrassment to a district judge for an appeals
court to rule that the district court had no business hearing the case in the first place.

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