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Re: Microsoft needs a help strategy

From: ZnU
Subject: Re: Microsoft needs a help strategy
Date: Thu, 29 Jan 2009 12:51:30 -0500
User-agent: MT-NewsWatcher/3.5.3b2 (Intel Mac OS X)

In article <4981a3de$0$21807$>,
 "amicus_curious" <> wrote:

> "ZnU" <znu@fake.invalid> wrote in message 
> > In article <4980ee5f$0$21796$>,
> > "amicus_curious" <> wrote:

> > I agree with you that harm to third parties is irrelevant as a legal
> > consideration.
> >
> > But Party B clearly is harmed, despite there being no money involved.
> >
> > Say Party A and Party B both have an interest in having an Ostrich Farm
> > Management application developed, which they both intend to use. So they
> > sign a contract: Party B will write modules to keep track of issues
> > related to bird mating and feeding, Party A will write the module to
> > connect the application to the International Electronic Ostrich
> > Exchange, and and they'll all trade source code so they can
> > independently develop and maintain the entire application afterwards.
> >
> > Party B finishes his modules first, and fires the source off to Party A.
> > When Party A finishes his modules, though, he refuses to share the
> > source with Party B.
> >
> > No money has changed hands at all during this process. Yet Party A has
> > clearly violated the contract, and Party B has clearly been harmed as a
> > result.
> >
> Not so clearly, I think.  First, you ignore whether or not Party A is 
> distributing the improved modules gratis.  If so, Party B is receiving any 
> benefit anticipated from the mutual effort.  Is that an "irreperable harm"? 
> The JMRI case has hinted that the SCOTUS has somehow established that there 
> has to be real, not just statutory assumed, harm.  If both parties have 
> obtained what they expected, then where is that proof of actual harm?

Even if Party A is distributing binaries at zero cost, and so Party B 
still has access to the completed application, Party B doesn't have 
access to full source code for that application and therefore can't 
separately develop and maintain it. Having access to source code is 
clearly something of value.

> > The GPL's requirements to disclose the source for derivative works, and
> > to license those works such that they can be modified and redistributed
> > under the same terms as the original work, are fundamentally intended to
> > create a situation like the one above, but without requiring prior
> > arrangement between the involved parties. The harm is precisely as real.
> But the presumed harmed party seems to have been made whole by giving back 
> the right to use the subsequent modifications.

"What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them
‹ that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer
apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too
small, but whether it works [...]"        -- Barack Obama, January 20th, 2008

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