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Re: LGPL reverse engineering clause & Java

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: LGPL reverse engineering clause & Java
Date: Fri, 03 Dec 2004 00:47:47 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/21.3.50 (gnu/linux)

John Hasler <> writes:

> David Kastrup writes:
>> The GPL is not enforceable anyway, since the recipient of the software is
>> not required to accept it.
> It is enforceable against those who have accepted it.

No, since you don't get any acknowledgment of their acception.  What
_is_ enforceable is the copyright.  The GPL grants conditional relief
from the provisions of copyright.

If you meet the conditions of the GPL, you are permitted to copy and
redistribute and modify the software in use.  If not, you are not.
And the copyright can be enforced.

This difference is important: if somebody distributes software derived
from GPLed software, you can't in any manner ask a court to rule that
the party in question has to release its software under the GPL.  The
GPL is not enforceable.  You can only ask a court to rule that the
party in question stop distributing your software in violation of your
copyright as long as it is not in compliance with the conditions of
the GPL.

This difference is important since it puts a bullet in the "viral GPL"
stuff and the "touch GPLed software and all your property becomes GPL"

> TSG has either accepted it or infringed thousands of copyrights (not
> just IBM's).

Yes, and those copyrights are enforceable.  The GPL isn't.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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