[svlug] HP's Quickplay - Where's the Source?

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Fri Dec 31 21:21:00 PST 2004


Quoting Jeffrey Siegal (jbs at quiotix.com):

> GPL Section 5 basically says that by merely receiving the code licensed 
> under the GPL, you do not need to accept the terms of the GPL.

[...]

Yes, that's (in part) what I said.

And, yes, I'm well aware of the rationale under which GPLv2 can be
squeezed into a contract-shaped box.  

However, even considered as a contract (which, to reiterate, GPLv2 does
not purport to be), GPLv2 lacks any clause claiming to require that
recipients issue their portion of derivative works under the same
terms:  It merely states that failure to do so deprives recipient of the
licence grant, effectively turning a recipient who has already 
redistributed but shirks that obligation into a tort-feasor.  The tort
in question is, of course, precisely the one delineated in the USA by 
17 U.S.C.  (Copyright Act).

And there's a very, very long judicial history concerning copyright
infringement torts, and the remedies thereof:  The standard basic remedy
is injunction against further infringement.  In the USA, if the
copyright has been Federally registered (most aren't), and plaintiff
meets some other statutory requirements, plaintiff may also be awarded
damages.  And that's _it_.  Plaintiff does not get access to defendent's
other goodies.  Doesn't happen.

I stress the issue because a considerable amount of anti-GPL FUD over
the years has tried to establish the fear that you can be forced to
issue your proprietary source code if it becomes contaminated, even
accidentally and innocently[1], with someone else's GPLed code.  If
true, that logic would apply _a fortiori_ to accidentally-included
_proprietary_ code, but never mind that:  The main point is that
copyright infringement judgements simply don't work that way.

If you seriously maintain otherwise, I await with interest your relevant
citation (and am keeping that Red Tail Ale cold for you).





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