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Re: Artifex v. Diebold: "The GPL is non-commercial!"

From: amicus_curious
Subject: Re: Artifex v. Diebold: "The GPL is non-commercial!"
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2008 13:34:48 -0500

"David Kastrup" <> wrote in message 85k5afdi9y.fsf@lola.goethe.zz">news:85k5afdi9y.fsf@lola.goethe.zz...
"amicus_curious" <> writes:

"Hyman Rosen" <> wrote in message
David Kastrup wrote:
Why? Then the software would not be redistributable

No, you don't understand. He thinks that any software that
has already been released under the GPL may be freely used
by anyone without restriction, because the permissions
granted by the GPL apply even though its restrictions don't.

It's as if he thinks he can go into a car dealership, listen
to the salesman say "you can take this car if you pay me
$35,000" and decide to observe the "you can take this car"
part but ignore the "if you pay me $35,000" part. In the
real world, this leads to unpleasant consequences, but the
real world has very little to do with his fever dreams.

In either case it would seem to be a violation of the contract terms.

The GPL is not a contract but a license.  It spells the conditions you
have to meet.

I am not aware of any real distinction in the law based on the use of the two terms, so amend my statement to say "In either case it would seem to be a violation of the terms of the agreement".

In both cases the agreements say "Upon receipt of value X from you I will provide a consideration Y." And vice-versa. Call it what you wish.

In your example, that is the only violation and when you do not pay
the $35,000 you are in violation of the contract and subject to being
sued for the amount

Or other obligations.

Nothing else was mentioned in the hypothetical example.

agreed upon plus costs of collection which are clearly the damages
that would be incurred by the dealer.

In the case of the GPL, it is not so clear.  If it is the same thing,
as you say, the suit would be for the damage caused to the original
author due to the violator not publishing the source code.

Uh no.  Damages are in addition to coming into compliance.

I would rather think that they were the direct consequence of not coming into compliance.

How much would that be?  I think what the GPL proponents want to
happen is that the violation is termed as a copyright violation and
the violator denied the right to distribute.

Since the GPL is a license, not a contract, it remains solely the
violator's choice whether he wants to claim being in violence of the
license terms (making use of the license) or in violation of copyright
law (not making use of the license).

The more recent cases seem to have a small cash payment for the
plaintiff lawyers as well, but they have been settlements, not

Well, once the violator realises he has no leg to stand on, why would he
not want to settle?

No one likes being sued and being in court. If the problem can be made to go away for a nominal pittance, why bother to litigate? It is like a panhandler confronting you on a Chicago street. Give him a dollar and he will go away and pester the next person. No one wants to confront the situation. Apparently Verizon threatened to do just that and the panhandler scurried off.

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