[volunteers] Fwd: Re: Requesting Speaker for Silicon Valley Linux User Group (SVLUG) Monthly Meeting
rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue May 15 10:28:28 PDT 2012
Quoting Yudhvir Singh Sidhu (mehmasarja at gmail.com):
> Since Gwyn likes a more discussion format, should we come up with
> some questions? I'd like to steer the conversation towards the
> stated theme of "Can't we all just get along?" So, I'll propose
> questions to that end.
You and Gwyn ought to carefully consider what is, and is not, the topic.
To review, this whole matter arose because panelist Bryan Cantrill
claimed from the podium that there is no licensing problem entailed in
using Sun's ZFS code (CDDL licence) as a filesystem module in
kernelspace with the Linux kernel (GPLv2 licensing) and distributing
binaries of the derivative work thereby created. His reasons (which as
moderator I refrained from challenging, as the event was about the
panelists and not about me) turned out to be three, two that were simply
wrong and one that was dangerously optimistic.
1. No Linux kernel coder would have standing. (Wrong.)
2. No damages could be collected. (Wrong and also irrelevant:
Given Linux's registration at the Library of Congress's
Copyright Office, 17 U.S.C. 504 establishes that basic damages,
decided by the court, start at $750 and go up to $30k per work
infringed -- more if the plaintiff can also satisfy the rather
high legal burden of proving willfulness. Even without
registration, plaintiff can get injunction against further
infringement plus actual damages if any.)
3. It's inconceivable that any Linux kernel coder would sue on
on a copyright tort committed by an open source project.
(Way optimistic, and not anything that cautious people would rely on.)
We analysed those topics here on this mailing list, CC'd to Bryan
Cantrill and Deirdre Straughan, who did not comment further.
A rather wacky digression then occurred, here, when a couple of the
mailing list regulars started talking about _patent_ and
anticircumvention issues plaguing codecs used by the VLC media player
under the mistaken impression that those were licensing issues, which
they are not.
So, we see, if you don't mind my saying so, some of the problems that
typically occur when these issues are raised among groups of
a) Bikeshedding. You get people who cannot even get straight the
difference between copyright and patent law, and don't even understand
basic concepts like standing, making erroneous claims and sweeping
b) Wishful thinking. You get people who think real, objective licence
and civil-law issues can be handwaved away by convincing everyone to be
Many years ago, Karsten Self (Cc'd) put together a series of workshops
about open source licensing and legal issues through his then-employer
Opensales. I, Chris di Bona, Don Marti, Jeremy Allison, and a lot of
the other usual suspects were participants. We correctly anticipated a
number of the hot issues of the last decade including DMCA-type
frameworks and the 'ASP loophole' for copylefted works, and it was
judged productive by the participants (and successfully excluded pretty
much all of the usual bullshit). _However_, it was of limited rather
than broad public interest.
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