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Re: Intellectual Property II

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: Intellectual Property II
Date: Wed, 08 Feb 2006 12:04:26 +0100

oaky wrote:
> A protocol exchange would qualify (in Moglen's world) as an example 
> of "exchanging complex internal data structures", like a GPL'd 
> daemon talking with a proprietary client app or vice-a-versa.


BW2261  FEB 27,2002       7:10 PACIFIC      10:10 EASTERN

( BW)(MA-NUSPHERE) Preliminary Hearing Between NuSphere and MySQL AB
Begins Today; NuSphere Responds to False Claims by the Free Software

    Business/Technology Editors

    BOSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 27, 2002--The Free Software Foundation
(FSF) issued a press release yesterday inaccurately stating that
NuSphere Corporation, an independent operating company of Progress
Software Corporation, "lost the right to distribute MySQL software due
to a violation of the GNU General Public License (GPL)." According to
Lorne Cooper, president of NuSphere Corporation, these statements are
inaccurate and inappropriate, as the case has yet to be presented in

    "The Free Software Foundation had no basis on which to issue this
statement," said Cooper. "The dispute between NuSphere and MySQL AB
originated from a trademark dispute. The initial court hearing takes
place today in Boston Federal Court. We believe actions such as this
press release by the FSF violate basic ethics regarding due process of
law and can only harm the open source community by alarming commercial
users of open software."

    The FSF contends that NuSphere violated the GPL by simply linking
proprietary software to the MySQL system using a public API. MySQL AB is
interpreting the GPL so broadly that any commercial software that comes
into contact with free software must also become free, according to
Cooper. By that standard, a commercial email program would violate the
GPL if it downloaded mail from a GPL-compliant mail server, he says.
NuSphere regards this as an extreme interpretation of the GPL and
believes that MySQL AB's injunction against NuSphere is an inappropriate
case by which to test the GPL in a court of law.

    The legal dispute between NuSphere Corporation and MySQL AB, which
is a VC-backed organization that also develops, supports and markets
MySQL, is about trademark rights that NuSphere purchased. MySQL AB
raised GPL issues in its counter-suit.

    "Businesses may, in good faith, have disagreements over
interpretation of contracts and in this case all that we seek is to have
MySQL AB honor its contracts," said Cooper. "MySQL AB, however, decided
to broaden our contractual dispute into a legal test case for the GPL.
We disagree with that decision because there is no infringement of the
GPL, and because this is counter to how the open source community

    Visit the NuSphere website ( to view a letter that
Cooper wrote to customers and the open source community and a PDF file
of the original contract signed with MySQL AB in June 2000.

    For more information or comment from Lorne Cooper, please contact
Sarah Johnson or Laura Ackerman at 781-684-0770 or Please note, Cooper will not be available
during the hearing, which runs from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. EST. More
information on NuSphere also is available at


    CONTACT: Sarah Johnson or Laura Ackerman
             Schwartz Communications, Inc.

    SOURCE: NuSphere

See also

(NuSphere: needed because MySQL AB won't accept code) 

Johnston says at the heart of the issue is a pending lawsuit in
which the two companies are suing each other over their changing
relationship and trademark issues.

Neither side would talk in great detail about the pending lawsuits,
but Johnston says NuSphere hasn't been allowed to participate
in the existing community at MySQL AB's

"We tried to submit changes [to the MySQL code] under the GPL to
that site, and they were refused on a commercial basis, not on a
technical basis," Johnston adds. "The code works fine, and we
ship it as part of our GPL version of MySQL ... but they are not
available from, because they won't accept anything they
don't own the copyright to."


MySQL AB's Mickos, on the phone from Finland, says the MySQL code,
while being Open Source, has always been created almost entirely by
project founders Michael "Monty" Widenius and David Axmark.

"It has never been a 'bazaar' product like in The Cathedral and
the Bazaar," Mickos says. "It's not a product everybody has
contributed to, and that never was the intention.

"Monty has never accepted code contributions from other people,"
Mickos adds. "If he has gotten something [from someone else], they
have been donations to him, and he rewrites them, but that's minor.
There never has been a situation where anybody could freely
contribute code."


Johnston says the two companies worked together on a press release
about Gemini being part of version 4 of MySQL, but NuSphere is still
waiting for that code to be released. "We checked the Gemini code
into that source tree, but that source tree hasn't left the gate
yet," he says. "Now they've refused our ability to contribute Gemini
at all. So that's an interesting claim." 


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