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Re: Is the GPL all encompassing?

From: amicus_curious
Subject: Re: Is the GPL all encompassing?
Date: Mon, 22 Sep 2008 13:22:32 -0400

"Hyman Rosen" <> wrote in message news:TkPBk.11098$
Rjack wrote:
So why do folks *start off* with the assumption that legal gibberish like the GPL is enforceable?

Because the U.S. constitution grants authors exclusive rights
to their work. As the JMRI appeals court agreed, it's reasonable
for that to include limiting the right to copy in ways other than
requiring payment. It's so simple that it's amazing you don't get
it. By default, the public has no right to copy a copyrighted work.
The rights holder may grant copying rights to others under any
terms he chooses. The copier may choose to accept those terms or
not. If the copier insists on copying in violation of the terms,
then he is infringing on copyright.

I grant that you can run around quoting from old cases where it
seems like this is not true, because the concept of an open source
license where permission is granted for sharing rather than money
is new enough that it had not been addressed. But the JMRI appeal
settled that, addressing exactly the issue in question.

I don't think that it really "settled" that issue, it merely said that the lower court had to reconsider the issue and that the conveyance of the right to copy was not solely a contract matter. What is still way up in the air is the matter of compensation due to the infringed party. If that becomes a trivial outcome, there may as well be no protection at all. In order to show value, the author will have to show that a market exists for the infringed material.

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