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Re: The GPL means what you want it to mean

From: Alan Mackenzie
Subject: Re: The GPL means what you want it to mean
Date: Sat, 11 Apr 2009 07:57:33 +0000 (UTC)
User-agent: tin/1.6.2-20030910 ("Pabbay") (UNIX) (FreeBSD/4.11-RELEASE (i386))

Happy pagan fertility rite, RJack!

In gnu.misc.discuss Rjack <> wrote:
> Rahul Dhesi wrote:

>> If the GPL contains any illegal terms, it should be easy to prove 
>> this. Just find some statute or case law according to which 
>> GPL-like permissions are illegal. If you can find none, then 
>> perhaps the GPL does not contain illegal terms.

> During the last few hundred or so postings to this group, ....

The last few hundred.  Or so.  Does it not occur to you that we're all
bored to tears with this minor sub-subject?  It's really not that

> ...., you have consistently ignored the reasons I have cited for the
> lack of enforceability of the GPL license terms under the common law of
> contracts and through preemption by U.S. copyright law. Since I have
> cited a plethora of U.S. statute and case law supporting my arguments,
> you are well informed as to their nature and substance. You need only
> review the messages to this group to refresh your memory.

These posts of yours are unreadable, RJ.  They go on and on and on
obsessively, yet they are none of them complete and coherent.  A typical
one of your posts assumes, often tacitly, something you "showed" in some
previous post, sometime.  Even you haven't got a mental overview over
your many hundred, possibly several thousand, posts on this worn out

Please put your arguments in a coherent form on a web site, somewhere.

> You may continuously intone phrases such as "*If* the GPL contains any
> illegal terms..." and "...*perhaps* the GPL does not contain illegal
> terms" until hell freezes over and nothing will ever be resolved. The
> "ifs" and "perhaps" lead only to repetition. Likewise, debating
> semantics concerning the meaning of "illegal" or similar words leads
> only to repetition.

We're completely agreed on this point.  Furthermore, this repetition is
boring and highly undesirable on this mailing list.

> If you wish to claim the GPL is enforceable then you may wish to
> present your own arguments as to why it is, just as Eben "a license is
> not a contract" Moglen did and we'll let the readers of the World
> decide.

Its enforceability is a sensible default assumption.  The GPL was put
together by a competent lawyer, is perfectly clear in what it says, is
perfectly reasonable in what it says, has so far stood the test of time,
and has been ruled valid by judges whenever it has been challenged in

Your arguments, on the other hand, as much as I can make them out, seem
based on arcane interpretations of USA law, sometimes citing cases going
back the best part of a century judged in social conditions which simply
don't exist any more.  They also seem based on the notion that absolute
logical consistency holds in law.

So put your argument up on a web site, and leave some room here for
people to talk about something interesting.

> Sincerely,
> Rjack :)

Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).

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