Robert Scott Horning wrote:
Jeffrey V. Merkey wrote:
>The way it's worded in GPL2 (and GPL3) its ambiguous. I've also been
>following the FSF and
>their litigation strategy over the years, and to be honest they wilt
>away like chaff in the wind
>on a certain class of GPL violators -- big software companies who pinch
>GPL code then use it.
>They onyl go after folks with little or no litigation resources. I Think
>they know if this thing got in front
>of a court and someone bankrolled 20 mil into costs, it may not stand up
>... just a theory.
I'm sure that there's a strong element of truth to this. In the long
run tactics analogous to guerilla warfare tend to be more effective
against massive power.
Of course the most famous court case for testing the
GPL is SCO vs. IBM,
where it was originally seen as a major test of the GPL (with IBM
backing of the GPL in a weird twist of events). Instead it looks as if
the case is going to spin into a stock fraud case and turn from civil
litigation into a criminal matter. Where the SEC will take this, I'm
not sure, but I'm certain that the GPL will be the least of the problems
for the CEO of SCO. This case did air out some of the legal issues
regarding the GPL in court and did deal with many copyleft issues in
general, but it doesn't look like the GPL will be significant for any
precedence to use this case in future GPL-related litigation.
Sigh! Stock fraud, the refuge of high quality scoundrels.
I'm curious what other major copyright violators of
the GPL that you are
talking about that the FSF didn't litigate against? The real issue that
the FSF has been facing is that major violators of the GPL havn't
necessarily been violating the use of GNU/Hurd software or anything else
with a copyright claim by the FSF. I guess this is another "class" of
GPL violations, but if they don't have a copyright claim, the FSF can't
really file as a plaintiff and enforce the copyright. There is also the
issue of statutory vs. actual damage claims that I raised earlier that
also apply to software under the GPL, making even a positive judgement
(for the GPL) something that is essentially a moot point and effectively
I agree, and GFDL hasn't been touched at all. For the most part I think
that the strategic thinking necessary for dealing with these complex
issues is missing from WMF. This is unfortunate because vested
interests are going to fight like hell to maintain their advantages,
even as the underlying social fabric of copyright is changing. In the
nearly three centuries since Queen Anne's Law the ones who have had the
ears of the politicians have been the ones who stood to do well with
improved protections. For most of that time those who would benefit
from any different were mostly scattered, and never in any position to
mount an effective lobby.
Perhaps WMF's greatest disadvantage is that it has become so big. Being
big can mean having more to lose in a knock down legal street scrap.