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Re: McDougall: "IT's Newest Title: 'Open Source Compliance Officer'"

From: John Hasler
Subject: Re: McDougall: "IT's Newest Title: 'Open Source Compliance Officer'"
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2007 12:49:14 -0600
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.1 (gnu/linux)

Alexander Terekhov wrote:
> What's the message here for corporate IT departments? The SFLC is
> basically saying that if you use of open source software willy nilly, and
> don't comply to the letter with the GPL, it will drag you into court...

Which is exactly what any other copyright owner would do.

> ...and try its best to have a watchdog (watch penguin?) inserted into
> your operations.

But according to you the GPL is unenforceable and the SFLC is settling all
these cases out of court in a desperate effort to avoid having a judge rule
on it.  If that's the case how were they able to get Xterasys to agree to
such a thing?  Or to anything at all?

> That's a scary thought.

Right.  Not nice and comfy like a BSA audit.

AES writes:
> Those of us who think the current IP system (referring both to patents
> and all other forms of IP) is all too often used/abused by deeper
> pocketed IP "owners" to extract tribute from less deep pocketed
> "infringers" might say this conveys a different message to corporate
> _legal_ departments, viz.

> "Hoist by your own petard."

Actually it sends a very positive message.  It tells companies that while
the GPL _will_ be enforced, it will be enforced in a reasonable manner much
like other license agreements companies regularly enter into[1].  No need
to worry about nonsense such as all the software you've ever written being
forced into the public domain: just pay some damages and come into
compliance as one would after a similar dispute with a closed-source
vendor.  This is a situation businesses can be comfortable with.

[1] Indeed, much more reasonable than some.  It's amazing what some people
who claim that the GPL is too restrictive will agree to.
John Hasler
Dancing Horse Hill
Elmwood, WI USA

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