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Re: Copyright Misuse Doctrine in Apple v. Psystar

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: Copyright Misuse Doctrine in Apple v. Psystar
Date: Sun, 22 Feb 2009 10:03:37 +0100
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.0.60 (gnu/linux)

"amicus_curious" <> writes:

> "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?

After a number of repetitive offenses, this actually happens.  Yes.  I
should be surprised if things are much different at your place.

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

Sure.  You can also ignore the rights of a supermarket owner when
visiting it, but you need not expect that either the workers or law
officers find that overly amusing.

Ignoring laws comes at a price.

>>> 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.

Hm?  We _are_ the "manufacturers" for a lot of free software.  And yes,
I have patched proprietary software (drivers, Pascal runtimes and
others) in the binaries for removing bugs that were hampering my work
flow.  It is a nuisance to debug using only binaries.  It is not a
matter of efficiency: if you think you can tell somebody like Digital
Research to please fix a system call from some driver DLL, you are
simply deluded about your influence and their response time and response

>>> 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.

There are several thousands copyright owners if you are talking about
the kernel.  You need all their agreement for a license upgrade.  The
FSF has its own opinion about just how smart that was.  If you are
talking about the user land, a lot of it is migrating to GPLv3.  After
all, large portions are (c) FSF anyway.

> 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.

Hm?  I thought they were opening up the parts previously proprietary.

>> 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 maker?
> 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.

Serious amount of money when done commercially?  More likely serious
jail terms.  It is somewhat disconcerting that copyright violations tend
to get longer jail terms than manslaughter and rape.

David Kastrup

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