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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: Sun, 22 Feb 2009 19:27:46 -0500

"Alan Mackenzie" <> wrote in message news:gnrq0u$8t6$

It seems to me, you're in favour of ignoring the GPL's conditions, yet
are in favour of conforming to the conditions of proprietary licenses.

As I stated elsewhere in this thread, I am opposed to copyright of software source entirely. Keep it a secret if you don't want others to know. If you want people to learn about your stuff, go ahead and publish the source and be happy that you helped others along. In either case, quit being so obnoxious.

I do not know of any opportunity for anyone to take an open source product and convert it to commercial, proprietary use. It does not make any marketing sense unless you modify it so extensively that it has substantially different fit, form, and fell and provides a highly recognizable benefit to the users who would buy it because of that. The big projects, say Linux itself or OO or the GNU utilities, are so complex to begin with that I don't think it would even be possible to do that. If someone did made a significant improvement to Linux or OO or any other FOSS project, I think just knowing the nature of the improvement would be enough of a revelation to allow it to be replicated separately.

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.

With the RIAA, yes.  I believe GPL copyright holders and even the SFLC
give you a chance to put things right without demanding a lot of, or
possibly any, money.  Please correct me if I'm mistaken on this point.

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

Name one.

The place where I was working a year ago, doing mobile telephones,
enhanced WireShark (a network packet sniffer, GPL licensed) to decode a
protocol layer which it wasn't already capable of.

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 Stallman
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.

Fair enough!  :-)  I enhanced my own keyboard layout so as to handle
key combinations like <ctrl>-arrow properly.  The keyboard is a

So what did you do to enhance the large GPL program and what was the
program and why did you do it?

The program is Emacs, and I added a working mode for the AWK language to
it.  For the last few years, I've been maintaining the modes for C, C++,
Java, etc., as well as making occasional amendments to other bits of

Why?  Because I'm an AWK user, and wanted the language handled properly.
Also the intellectual challenge of doing this was much more satisfying
than the humdrum tedious programming I do in my day job.

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.

As David pointed out, I am one of the "manufacturers".

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

Well, thanks, and all that.  Search the Web for my name with either
"Emacs" or "CC Mode", and that should persuade you.

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.

Linus Torvalds indeed has problems with GPL3.  So Linux has stayed with

Apache has something else, I know.  Ditto PHP.  I'm not so sure MySQL
is even open anymore.

I think it's dual licensed - either GPL or a proprietary license,
depending on how much support you want, or something like that.

I don't bother with it, but Sun seems to be locking things down.
 Anything else of importance using the GPL?

The "infrastructure" code in GNU/Linux - glibc, stuff like file handling
libraries, and other POSIX stuff, upon which all Linux programs depend.

The bash shell, and essential shell commands like ls, mv, ln, rm, xargs,
grep, find, ..... the engine that snazzy file managers use to get their
work done.

Masses of development tools - Emacs, diff, patch, grep, gcc (compiler
for several languages), gdb (debugger), ld (linker), CVS and bzr and
probably quite a few more (version control systems), ....

Quite a lot of applications, like Gimp.

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

Well, I don't give much detail when I say the world's round, either. ;-)
The wikipedia entry for GPL states that it is used in about 60% of free
and open source software.  As a source, it cites Black Duck Software.

If this is true, why do you think the GPL has become so prevelant, if it
has all the snags you've been asserting?

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 maker?

That is very hard to do, I think.  Other than illegally copying the
binaries, how are you going to violate their licenses?

By using them in an emulator, or a virtual OS, or by disassembling them.
Or of course, as you say, by illicitly copying them, installing them on
too many machines, that kind of thing.

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.

I think you're saying here, the pain you suffer on being caught
violating the GPL is much less than that from violating a proprietary
license.  I think that is correct.

Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).

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