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Re: "GPL requirement could have achillingeffectonderivativedistros"

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: "GPL requirement could have achillingeffectonderivativedistros"
Date: Mon, 03 Jul 2006 18:19:07 +0200

Stefaan A Eeckels wrote:
> On Mon, 03 Jul 2006 12:13:02 +0200
> Alexander Terekhov <> wrote:
> >  Now please piss of with your "honesty".
> Why am I not surprised?

Eeckels, Eeckels. The contract laws recognize a concept called 
"efficient breach" which encourages breach of a contract if it's 
economically efficient to do so. Compliance with a contract is almost 
always voluntary -- if you choose not to comply, then you don't have 
to. You merely have to compensate the non-breaching party for his 
expectancy interest. 

And regarding the GPL, there's no basis for any "trust" at all given 
that under many state laws it can be terminated at will by GPL 
authors even before statutory renewal after 35 years. See

BTW, in this respect, I also like this:

Posted 10 Jan 2003 by ncm (Master)

A quick scan through the Free Software licenses I have immediately 
on hand showed one thing in common: none say the rights are waived 
perpetually or irrevocably. On the face of it, it seems, I could 
release a program under the GPL, and then announce five years later 
that it and all derived works are under my private control again.

I wrote to Eben Moglen (FSF counsel) asking about this, but he 
didn't reply.


I wrote to Fred von Lohmann of the EFF, and he said that the question 
is a difficult one, and that it "actually came up in the cphack case, 
but the issue was never resolved".


(For commercial software this isn't such an issue, because the UCC 
(Uniform Commercial Code) and the first-sale doctrine imply whatever 
waivers you need to get full use of what you paid for.)

The best thing to do, it seems to me, is to add language in each 
copyright waiver itself, asserting that the author waives those rights 
in perpetuity, subject to yada yada. This will be a big job. The 
Debian archive lists over 8000 packages, each with a license, and an 
author to explain all this to. For works with many authors (like X, 
Linux, or Apache) it might even be impossible. 



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