GPL Triumphs Again

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. I’d say the GPL has survived the most thorough hammering in the courts that
    lawyers have been able to throw at it, of all the Free Software licences.

    <http://lwn.net/Articles/398592/>
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Aug 4, 2010
    #1
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  2. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    peterwn Guest

    On Aug 4, 5:46 pm, Lawrence D'Oliveiro <l...@geek-
    central.gen.new_zealand> wrote:
    > I’d say the GPL has survived the most thorough hammering in the courts that
    > lawyers have been able to throw at it, of all the Free Software licences.
    >
    > <http://lwn.net/Articles/398592/>


    LWN in turn cited from:
    http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20100803132055210

    One outcome will be to vastly increase awareness of the requirements
    of the GPL among companies who incorporate GPL'd code in their
    products. I foresee that if someone does a survey re GPL obligations
    among companies in 12 months time, awareness of GPL obligations will
    be vastly greater than figures recently indicated in this ng.
     
    peterwn, Aug 4, 2010
    #2
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  3. In message
    <>, peterwn
    wrote:

    > One outcome will be to vastly increase awareness of the requirements
    > of the GPL among companies who incorporate GPL'd code in their
    > products.


    Maybe. Have you noticed that a majority of the lawsuits seem to involve
    BusyBox? It shows that the embedded vendors are by far the biggest
    offenders. If they can’t keep a simple thing like Free Software licensing
    straight, imagine what a mess their proprietary licensing must be like...
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Aug 4, 2010
    #3
  4. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    victor Guest

    On 4/08/2010 6:52 p.m., Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
    > In message
    > <>, peterwn
    > wrote:
    >
    >> One outcome will be to vastly increase awareness of the requirements
    >> of the GPL among companies who incorporate GPL'd code in their
    >> products.

    >
    > Maybe. Have you noticed that a majority of the lawsuits seem to involve
    > BusyBox? It shows that the embedded vendors are by far the biggest
    > offenders. If they can’t keep a simple thing like Free Software licensing
    > straight, imagine what a mess their proprietary licensing must be like...


    They probably just pay a single royalty for proprietary rom images.
    No source code publication is required which is what the busybox
    bickering seems to be about.
     
    victor, Aug 4, 2010
    #4
  5. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    peterwn Guest

    On Aug 4, 10:04 pm, victor <> wrote:

    > > BusyBox? It shows that the embedded vendors are by far the biggest
    > > offenders. If they can’t keep a simple thing like Free Software licensing
    > > straight, imagine what a mess their proprietary licensing must be like....

    >
    > They probably just pay a single royalty for proprietary rom images.
    > No source code publication is required which is what the busybox
    > bickering seems to be about.


    There are issues here too. The purchaser of the ROM's need to ensure
    that the chip vendor has obtained licences and paid royalties for any
    other firms' software that is used. For very complex functions the
    choice narrows down to using Linux and related utilities such as
    busybox, or using an operating system product from the likes of
    Microsoft.

    The decision boils down to an economic one - the cost of abiding by
    the GPL (ie making source code available) versus the cost of paying
    royalties.
     
    peterwn, Aug 4, 2010
    #5
  6. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    victor Guest

    On 5/08/2010 7:42 a.m., peterwn wrote:
    > On Aug 4, 10:04 pm, victor<> wrote:
    >
    >>> BusyBox? It shows that the embedded vendors are by far the biggest
    >>> offenders. If they can’t keep a simple thing like Free Software licensing
    >>> straight, imagine what a mess their proprietary licensing must be like...

    >>
    >> They probably just pay a single royalty for proprietary rom images.
    >> No source code publication is required which is what the busybox
    >> bickering seems to be about.

    >
    > There are issues here too. The purchaser of the ROM's need to ensure
    > that the chip vendor has obtained licences and paid royalties for any
    > other firms' software that is used. For very complex functions the
    > choice narrows down to using Linux and related utilities such as
    > busybox, or using an operating system product from the likes of
    > Microsoft.
    >
    > The decision boils down to an economic one - the cost of abiding by
    > the GPL (ie making source code available) versus the cost of paying
    > royalties.


    They could factor in the cost of litigation too if there is an economic
    benefit in delaying publication of the source code to competitors.
     
    victor, Aug 4, 2010
    #6
  7. In message <i3ch9o$tce$-september.org>, victor wrote:

    > They could factor in the cost of litigation too if there is an economic
    > benefit in delaying publication of the source code to competitors.


    But there isn’t one. For all the talk of “precious intellectual property†in
    their proprietary software, this has never been credibly quantified.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Aug 4, 2010
    #7
  8. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    victor Guest

    On 5/08/2010 10:28 a.m., Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
    > In message<i3ch9o$tce$-september.org>, victor wrote:
    >
    >> They could factor in the cost of litigation too if there is an economic
    >> benefit in delaying publication of the source code to competitors.

    >
    > But there isn’t one. For all the talk of “precious intellectual property†in
    > their proprietary software, this has never been credibly quantified.


    You are being naive
    If you were a TV manufacturer, having to publish your source code for
    your HD TVs GUI interface for your competitors to browse in advance of
    its launch at the various consumer shows would be quite undesirable.
     
    victor, Aug 5, 2010
    #8
  9. In message <i3csrn$cof$-september.org>, victor wrote:

    > On 5/08/2010 10:28 a.m., Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
    >
    >> In message<i3ch9o$tce$-september.org>, victor wrote:
    >>
    >>> They could factor in the cost of litigation too if there is an economic
    >>> benefit in delaying publication of the source code to competitors.

    >>
    >> But there isn’t one. For all the talk of “precious intellectual propertyâ€
    >> in their proprietary software, this has never been credibly quantified.

    >
    > You are being naive


    No, I’m being realistic. I seek evidence to disprove my point, and there is
    none. QED.

    > If you were a TV manufacturer, having to publish your source code for
    > your HD TVs GUI interface for your competitors to browse in advance of
    > its launch at the various consumer shows would be quite undesirable.


    The GPL requires that you only have to offer the source once the code has
    been published.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Aug 5, 2010
    #9
  10. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    Gordon Guest

    On 2010-08-04, Lawrence D'Oliveiro <_zealand> wrote:
    > In message <i3csrn$cof$-september.org>, victor wrote:
    >
    >> On 5/08/2010 10:28 a.m., Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
    >>
    >>> In message<i3ch9o$tce$-september.org>, victor wrote:
    >>>
    >>>> They could factor in the cost of litigation too if there is an economic
    >>>> benefit in delaying publication of the source code to competitors.
    >>>
    >>> But there isn?t one. For all the talk of ?precious intellectual property?
    >>> in their proprietary software, this has never been credibly quantified.

    >>
    >> You are being naive

    >
    > No, I?m being realistic. I seek evidence to disprove my point, and there is
    > none. QED.
    >
    >> If you were a TV manufacturer, having to publish your source code for
    >> your HD TVs GUI interface for your competitors to browse in advance of
    >> its launch at the various consumer shows would be quite undesirable.

    >
    > The GPL requires that you only have to offer the source once the code has
    > been published.


    This is an important point, in this thread. The TV manufacturer can show off
    his sets and get people all in a I Gota Have It state. It is only after the
    code goes to a third party does the GPL say, you need to give the source
    code if someone asks for it.

    Now, think of the hype that Apple creates so well. They are leaders, no
    doubt abot that. So it does get people wanting to buy the product.
     
    Gordon, Aug 5, 2010
    #10
  11. In message <i3aus8$573$>, Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:

    > I’d say the GPL has survived the most thorough hammering in the courts
    > that lawyers have been able to throw at it, of all the Free Software
    > licences.


    Further elucidation here
    <http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2010/08/court-rules-gpl-part-of-a-well-pleaded-case.ars>
    that it triumphed here at the summary-judgement phase without need for a
    full trial (other cases have seen it win in a full trial as well), so a
    judge is willing to accept its terms as part of a “well-pleaded caseâ€.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Aug 8, 2010
    #11
  12. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    peterwn Guest

    On Aug 8, 1:32 pm, Lawrence D'Oliveiro <l...@geek-
    central.gen.new_zealand> wrote:
    > In message <i3aus8$>, Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
    >
    > > I’d say the GPL has survived the most thorough hammering in the courts
    > > that lawyers have been able to throw at it, of all the Free Software
    > > licences.

    >
    > Further elucidation here
    > <http://arstechnica.com/open-source/news/2010/08/court-rules-gpl-part-...>
    > that it triumphed here at the summary-judgement phase without need for a
    > full trial (other cases have seen it win in a full trial as well), so a
    > judge is willing to accept its terms as part of a “well-pleaded case”..


    The judge was covering all bases in this instance.

    If A accuses B of breach of copyright, it is B who needs to defend the
    claim. The main defences are pointing to a clause of the Copyright Act
    or the relevant licence. As Eben Moglen (Ivy League law professor)
    says - it is the defendant who needs to wave the licence around. If B
    fails to front up or files a defence which fails to engage the Act or
    licence, then B can expect summary judgment. The judge laid it on good
    and thick here in case the defendant came crawling back to the court
    asking for a re-hearing, etc.

    The only significant difference between USA and NZ with copyright law
    is the US Constitution (Article 1 Section 8 -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
    discoveries) may influence the US Supreme Court's interpretation of
    copyright law. Some smart lawyers have threatened to use this to
    derail the GPL.
     
    peterwn, Aug 8, 2010
    #12
  13. In message
    <>, peterwn
    wrote:

    > The judge laid it on good and thick here in case the defendant came
    > crawling back to the court asking for a re-hearing, etc.


    I would expect that as a matter of course from a judge in any case.

    > The only significant difference between USA and NZ with copyright law
    > is the US Constitution (Article 1 Section 8 -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
    > discoveries) may influence the US Supreme Court's interpretation of
    > copyright law. Some smart lawyers have threatened to use this to
    > derail the GPL.


    But surely that would also derail things like repeated copyright extensions
    by Congress, overbroad DMCA provisions and the like—all the things that Big
    Content (and big contributors to congresspersons’ campaign funds) are so
    fond of.

    As Bradley Kuhn points out
    <http://www.ebb.org/bkuhn/blog/2008/04/10/gpl-not-end-in-itself.html>, the
    GPL is a means to an end, not an end in itself. It’s there for self-defence
    against others trying to commit copyright land-grabs; the day such grabs no
    longer become possible, many would accept that the GPL was no longer
    necessary.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Aug 9, 2010
    #13
  14. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    Richard Guest

    victor wrote:
    > You are being naive
    > If you were a TV manufacturer, having to publish your source code for
    > your HD TVs GUI interface for your competitors to browse in advance of
    > its launch at the various consumer shows would be quite undesirable.


    But they dont have to publish it then, just once ownership of the
    television ends up in the end users hands
     
    Richard, Aug 9, 2010
    #14
  15. In article <i3prb3$48n$-september.org>, victor <> wrote:
    >On 9/08/2010 6:54 p.m., Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
    >> In message
    >> <>, peterwn
    >> wrote:
    >>> The judge laid it on good and thick here in case the defendant came
    >>> crawling back to the court asking for a re-hearing, etc.

    >> I would expect that as a matter of course from a judge in any case.
    >>> The only significant difference between USA and NZ with copyright law
    >>> is the US Constitution (Article 1 Section 8 -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
    >>> discoveries) may influence the US Supreme Court's interpretation of
    >>> copyright law. Some smart lawyers have threatened to use this to
    >>> derail the GPL.

    >> But surely that would also derail things like repeated copyright extensions
    >> by Congress, overbroad DMCA provisions and the like—all the things that Big
    >> Content (and big contributors to congresspersons’ campaign funds) are so
    >> fond of.
    >>
    >> As Bradley Kuhn points out
    >> <http://www.ebb.org/bkuhn/blog/2008/04/10/gpl-not-end-in-itself.html>, the
    >> GPL is a means to an end, not an end in itself. It’s there for self-defence
    >> against others trying to commit copyright land-grabs; the day such grabs no
    >> longer become possible, many would accept that the GPL was no longer
    >> necessary.

    >
    >In other words these court actions are stunts by anti-copyright
    >activists, not actions to preserve the freedom for consumers to modify
    >their lcd tvs


    That is not what was typed. :)
    The various GPLs do in fact offer many protections ... but they also say
    very clearly (IMO) what you can and cannot do. Doing something different is
    still contrary to the licence ... which should and does have consequences.
    As does breaking any agreement of any sort. :)
     
    Bruce Sinclair, Aug 10, 2010
    #15
  16. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    victor Guest

    On 10/08/2010 11:07 a.m., Bruce Sinclair wrote:
    > In article<i3prb3$48n$-september.org>, victor<> wrote:
    >> On 9/08/2010 6:54 p.m., Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:
    >>> In message
    >>> <>, peterwn
    >>> wrote:
    >>>> The judge laid it on good and thick here in case the defendant came
    >>>> crawling back to the court asking for a re-hearing, etc.
    >>> I would expect that as a matter of course from a judge in any case.
    >>>> The only significant difference between USA and NZ with copyright law
    >>>> is the US Constitution (Article 1 Section 8 -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
    >>>> discoveries) may influence the US Supreme Court's interpretation of
    >>>> copyright law. Some smart lawyers have threatened to use this to
    >>>> derail the GPL.
    >>> But surely that would also derail things like repeated copyright extensions
    >>> by Congress, overbroad DMCA provisions and the like—all the things that Big
    >>> Content (and big contributors to congresspersons’ campaign funds) are so
    >>> fond of.
    >>>
    >>> As Bradley Kuhn points out
    >>> <http://www.ebb.org/bkuhn/blog/2008/04/10/gpl-not-end-in-itself.html>, the
    >>> GPL is a means to an end, not an end in itself. It’s there for self-defence
    >>> against others trying to commit copyright land-grabs; the day such grabs no
    >>> longer become possible, many would accept that the GPL was no longer
    >>> necessary.

    >>
    >> In other words these court actions are stunts by anti-copyright
    >> activists, not actions to preserve the freedom for consumers to modify
    >> their lcd tvs

    >
    > That is not what was typed. :)
    > The various GPLs do in fact offer many protections ... but they also say
    > very clearly (IMO) what you can and cannot do. Doing something different is
    > still contrary to the licence ... which should and does have consequences.
    > As does breaking any agreement of any sort. :)
    >


    This case has no validity, it just means Westinghouse didn't turn up.
     
    victor, Aug 10, 2010
    #16
  17. In article <i3qd3l$v11$-september.org>, victor <> wrote:
    (snip)
    >This case has no validity, it just means Westinghouse didn't turn up.


    Not turning up is the legal equivalent of surrendering without a fight.
    Pretty convincing I'd say. :)
     
    Bruce Sinclair, Aug 10, 2010
    #17
  18. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    victor Guest

    On 10/08/2010 3:28 p.m., Bruce Sinclair wrote:
    > In article<i3qd3l$v11$-september.org>, victor<> wrote:
    > (snip)
    >> This case has no validity, it just means Westinghouse didn't turn up.

    >
    > Not turning up is the legal equivalent of surrendering without a fight.
    > Pretty convincing I'd say. :)
    >


    What Westinghouse did is the legal equivalent of being dead before the
    fight, they just decided to dump the tv business.
    The plaintiffs now line up behind the other creditors.
    Its worth reading a bit more about it before passing too much comment at
    the superficial level.
    Bruce Perens wasn't entirely impressed.
    http://perens.com/blog/d/2009/12/15/23/
     
    victor, Aug 10, 2010
    #18
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