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Re: German-GPL victorious in Frankfurt district court

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: German-GPL victorious in Frankfurt district court
Date: Fri, 22 Sep 2006 23:58:36 +0200

And here comes the GPL girl.

Well, there's a somewhat refreshing comment. (Anonymous != terekhov)

GPL validity isn't a package deal
Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, September 22 2006 @ 05:24 PM EDT

"Even if you could prove the license wasn't legal or binding, you gain
nothing, because you thereby lose all rights to distribute. Some seem 
to think they get to misappropriate the code if they could just get 
that pesky GPL out of the way. Nope. It's a package deal."

It's not a package deal. A license can have one clause that's held to be 
invalid while the rest is upheld. Some jurisdictions only allow this when 
the license has an explicit severability clause, others automatically 
apply such clauses.

In the case of a copyright license, the argument would be

1) the grant of rights is legally valid
2) the obligation to make source available is unenforceable because of 
3) one unenforceable clause does not invalidate the whole license
4) therefore I'm not held to that obligation yet I have a valid grant 
of rights

The $64,000 question of course is what $REASON could be when the license 
is the GPL.

The usual starting point for lawyers is stating that something is 
against antitrust law or misuse of copyright. The D-Link lawyers didn't 
say *the GPL* is against antitrust law, but only that *the licensee's 
obligations* under the GPL were unfair. 


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