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Re: The GPL dream continues

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: The GPL dream continues
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2008 15:37:06 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.0.60 (gnu/linux)

Hyman Rosen <> writes:

> <,1000000121,39461786,00.htm>
> Sun has released more Java software (the lightweight UI toolkit)
> under the GPLv2, with the classpath exception. It should be
> abundantly clear at this point that industry regards the GPL and
> other such licenses to be valid as written, whether or not the
> law would actually hold that way should they be disputed.

That's actually not really a good point.  It is clear that releasing
under the GPL seems compatible with Sun's goals.  But it is not at all
clear what legal expections Sun has from the GPL to make the licensing
compatible with Sun's goals.  A combination of effectively public domain
plus a working "stay away" bluff and goodwill hunting could still be
Sun's aim.

On the other hand, a bluff that never gets called in spite of the other
players having deep pockets is apparently as good as the real thing.
Most non-bluffs get called more often.

> If it should turn out that the courts do not uphold the validity
> of these licenses (which, given the JMRI case, appears unlikely),
> then I believe you could shortly thereafter expect congress to
> change copyright law to make them valid. After all, agencies of
> the U.S. government itself distribute software under the GPL:
> <>

You can't retroactively change the effects of laws, that would be acting
against bad faith ("good faith" seems an inappropriate term regarding
reliance on being able to ignore licensing conditions).

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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