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Re: Is the GPL all encompassing?

From: Hyman Rosen
Subject: Re: Is the GPL all encompassing?
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2008 10:55:30 -0400
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20080708)

amicus_curious wrote:
I see what you are saying now and I do agree that industry generally seems to avoid GPL issues due to their perceived viral nature.

Right. That very avoidance is evidence that industry believes
that the GPL is a valid license, with enforceable restrictions.

I think that is contrary to the fundamental principles of OSS, though, and so conclude that the GPL does a lot of damage to the idea.

That's fine, because the FSF is opposed to (or at least orthogonal
to) the fundamental principles of OSS. In fact, those principles
didn't even exist when the GPL was created.

To win a case, the author must prove that the work was infringed and harm occurred.

The concept of statutory infringement exists so that authors will
not have to prove actual harm. No one may copy someone else's work
without permission even if that work is so unpopular that the
author stands no chance of making any money from it. That's why the
anti-GPL posters here are so eager to say that violations of the
GPL are not copyright infringement - it's because that prevents the
copyright holders from suing for statutory damages.

> the author had no expectation of any monetary return, so that could
not harm him.

That is exactly the fallacy addressed by the JMRI appeals court.
Authors are granted exclusive rights to their work, and they may
require other forms of compensation than money for the privilege
of allowing their work to be copied. It is not for others to say
that these forms of compensation are invalid and so the work may
be taken for no compensation at all.

> what harm might come to the defendant if he were put out of business.

Ah, I see. "From each according to his abilities, to each according
to his needs."

I cannot imagine that the work that was copied is so monumental that it could not be re-created in a non-infringing manner

Sure. It just costs time, money, and effort. So much easier just
to steal it.

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