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Re: Copyright Misuse Doctrine in Apple v. Psystar

From: amicus_curious
Subject: Re: Copyright Misuse Doctrine in Apple v. Psystar
Date: Sat, 21 Feb 2009 21:11:05 -0500

"Alan Mackenzie" <> wrote in message news:gnq384$27ef$

You could make the same sort of argument about any "petty" peccadillo.
Why bother prosecuting a fare dodger for a 2 Euro fare?  Seems a bit
disproportionate, doesn't it?

Do they arraign and prosecute people for this in your town?

[ .... ]

I am saying, instead, that the filing of a lawsuit can only make the
logical users of FOSS pause and consider whether or not they want to
risk using a FOSS program or library when clowns like BusyBox are out
in the wild preying on those who might make a misstep.

:-)  Honestly, how much effort, really, does it take for a company, no
matter how small, to understand the GPL (any version) and comply with it?
It's straightforward enough that you barely even need to consult a
lawyer.  You need to put a tarball of your source code up on your
company's website.  Half a day's work to read the GPL, understand it,
create the tarball and put it on the site.

And if, somehow, you manage to get even that wrong, you can put it right
on receiving that dreaded letter from the SFLC, or from the copyright

How big a deal is it to just ignore it?  Even less work.

That is only accruing to Moglen and his cronies at the SFLC.  They get
their attorney's fees paid by the victim.  That is the way the RIAA
works, too, holding up the huge cost of a litigation, if lost, over the
head of their prey who can escape by paying a few thousand bucks to the
shysters instead. Few fight when the penalties and rewards are so

I believe the RIAA doesn't give their victims the opportunity to put
right, at minimal cost, what the RIAA claims is wrong.  The SFLC,
however, does.

Attorney's fees, etc? How minimal is that cost, do you suppose. That is the big club with the RIAA.

No one takes apart complex applications in order to change them,
there is no value in having all those restrictions as posed by the

People do change complex GPL'd applications.  So do companies.

Name one.

So where do the lawsuits come from if nobody actually makes use of the
software in question?

From the guys who have the GPL copyright, of course.  That is only
BusyBox, it seems.  For example in the Actiontec suit there were about
20 GPL source packages eventually listed on the Actiontec website, but
they were only sued for the BusyBox stuff.  The old idea that Sallman
had about those who received software downstream needing to understand
it so that they could modify it is rather passe'.  If OpenOffice or
Linux doesn't work exactly the way I want, I am not going to fool
around re-writing the damn thing.

That's fair enough.  It's probably outside your capabilities anyhow.

No one does that.

False.  I have modified Linux, if only peripherally.  I have modified
several other FOSS programs slightly, and enhanced one large GPL program

What is "only peripherally"? Sounds like a waffle to me. So what did you do to enhance the large GPL program and what was the program and why did you do it?

They just complain to the manufacturer and maybe their needs are taken
care of in a subsequent release, maybe not.  Who can afford to learn
enough about Linux or OO or any other big program to the point where
they can effectively make modifications?

Me.  David Kastrup, too.

Well, maybe you are that inefficient, but I think you are just bluffing.

Stallman is living in the 70s or worse.

Yet, somehow, the GPL remains the most popular license, by an
overwhelming margin.  If your notions on the GPL were accurate, it would
by now have dwindled to unimportance and been superseded by a BSD
license, or whatever.  There're no signs of that happening.

Linux uses it, but not the latest version, apparently the copyright owner has some problems with that. Apache has something else, I know. Ditto PHP. I'm not so sure MySQL is even open anymore. I don't bother with it, but Sun seems to be locking things down. Anything else of importance using the GPL? I know all those 0.x things on SourceForge and such seem to use it, but they are not much in terms of importance or popularity.

Why do you think the GPL governs so many programs, and other free and
open-source licenses so few?

I don't know that you are correct. You wave your hands as if that is enough for everyone to believe you, but you are suspiciously shy of any detail.

The actions of the SDLC prove that it is only viable as a way to
harass those who might want to take advantage of FOSS.  With that kind
of trouble, the users will be fewer than otherwise.

Have you compared the sort of "hassle" a user might get from SDLC with
what he might get on violating some other type of license, say a
proprietary one from Microsoft, or Oracle, or some other major software

That is very hard to do, I think. Other than illegally copying the binaries, how are you going to violate their licenses? Certainly people have made illegal copies galore and generally get away with the act. If they use it commercially, though, they are often found out and prosecuted. It is hardly a hassle, it is a serious amount of money whereas the need to post yet another copy of BusyBox is much more of a trivial irritation, particularly when offered as part of a lawsuit.

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