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

From: Hyman Rosen
Subject: Re: Artifex v. Diebold: "The GPL is non-commercial!"
Date: Thu, 04 Dec 2008 14:30:56 -0500
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20081105)

amicus_curious wrote:
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.

Well, the GPL says "if you wish to do X, which normally you would not
be permitted to do by copyright law, you may do so provided you do Y".
That's why it's a license - the recipient may use its provisions or
not, and it requires no contact between the recipient and distributor.

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

Not just that. If you tried to take the car without paying, you would
also be subject to criminal charges for theft. In the same way you are
subject to statutory copyright violation penalties for distributing
GPLed code without honoring the terms of the GPL. This was confirmed
by the JMRI appeals court decision.

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.

And statutory damages, which apply to deliberate copyright violation
regardless of any actual monetary value the works may have.

Apparently Verizon threatened to do just that and the panhandler scurried off.

The source code for the firmware in the Actiontec routers became available
from Actiontec. Without doing discovery at Verizon, it's difficult for an
outsider to know whether they are violating the GPL or not. The copyright
holders of the code in question appear to be satisfied with the outcome of
the case.

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