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Re: JMRI case -- Implementation of the Federal Circuit's Opinion

From: amicus_curious
Subject: Re: JMRI case -- Implementation of the Federal Circuit's Opinion
Date: Fri, 9 Jan 2009 09:19:54 -0500

"Rahul Dhesi" <> wrote in message news:gk6t8h$dbb$
"amicus_curious" <> writes:

I think that the issue of consideration is paramount.  The copyright
laws exist to protect the author's ability to benefit from the author's
artistic cleverness.  If the author chooses not to benefit in a
conventional way, the benefit that is expected must at least be defined
clearly enough to determine if someone's alleged violations actually
harm the author...

No, this is complete nonsense. Copyright law exists (in the US) to
encourage creation and dissmemination of creative works for the benefit
of the public.  "The Congress shall have Power...To promote the Progress
of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and
Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and

Why would anyone really care unless there were some benefit to be obtained by the author due to the right to control the distribution? The copyright act contains language such as " distribute copies or phonorecords of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;", all clearly implying a financial value of the work and direct financial benefit to the author. It is silly to suppose that the the purpose of a copyright is to lock up the author's work and deny the public access.

Free software licenses fit nicely in this, because these licenses are
designed to encourage the wide dissemination of works thus licensed. And
I hope the JMRI attorney remembers to remind the court of this.

It would seem obvious that no license at all would fit even more nicely into the notion of widely disseminating some work. The GPL has a requirement that someone deriving something useful from GPL licensed software disclose the derivation and allow for similiar unrestricted use, but that is not the case with these silly suits. The only issue is that the violator has failed to follow the re-publication of the original source code. None of the instances to date has contested any failure to disclose, which would seem to be the only opportunity for determining any value.

It is hard to see how such republication has any meaning for the public as well. The vast majority of people buying a wireless router or similar device that has been the target of the SFLC lawsuits is never going to bother with the source code for any internal nitty-gritty of that device. The few who might are certainly astute enough to know all about GPL software and astute enough to go to the original project source for any information rather than some discrete hand me down copy coming from someone using the code in their product.

Yes, it may reasonable to require a plaintiff to show what damages he
has suffered, but not because that's the goal of copyright law.

You are mixing up (a) the goal of copyright law and (b) the goal of this
specific lawsuit.

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