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Re: GNU licenses

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: GNU licenses
Date: Tue, 05 Sep 2006 14:38:08 +0200

Merijn de Weerd wrote:
> On Tue,  5 Sep 2006 12:15:35 +0200 (CEST), "Alfred M. Szmidt"
> <> said:
> >    If I distribute illegally, I am not bound by the license. See you
> >    in federal court for copyright infringement. I won't have to see
> >    you in state court where you try to compel specific performance of
> >    the license.
> >
> > What you are basically saying is: If I commit murder, then I am not
> > bound by the law.  Obviously, you are bound by the law, and in the
> > case of violating the license, bound by the license.
> Your analogy is not valid. A license is not the law. It's an agreement
> between parties: you allow me to do something, I will do something in
> return. I am not bound by that until and unless I *choose* to do so.

And 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. 

So here comes the problem for GNU, and the reason why RMS and Moglen
try/pretend to escape the realm of contact laws: economics is not
what they want people and courts to look at. It's much easier to
smoke-and-mirror inept general public with "Freedom, Free speech!" 
and other appealing slogans which have exact same relevance 
regarding GPL "conditions" as Bolsheviks' "Peace, Land, and Bread!"


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