GPL enforcement: waiting for the Monsoon
Posted Sep 29, 2007 9:39 UTC (Sat) by rickmoen
In reply to: GPL enforcement: waiting for the Monsoon
Parent article: GPL enforcement: waiting for the Monsoon
In particular, there is not a reference to derivative works here.
Nonetheless, that is a key legal concept whose boundaries determine precisely whether a GPLed (e.g.) work's copyright encumbrance is even relevant to whether some "degree of linking to closed-source software is allowed before the conditions cease to be met" (your phrase). That is, you asked a question that presumed that a "degree of linking" was a relevant concern. I countered, in part (spelling out my point here, more fully), that your question strongly suggests that you should review foundational concepts of copyright law, which study would reveal to you that you were asking the wrong question in the first place. (A literalist's answer to your question would have been "Mu". I was attempting to be a bit more helpful than that.)
And yet, judges host thousands of hours every year of argument over what perfectly legible documents just like this mean, in the context of a specific case and myriad other sources of law. There would have to be something special about GPL to believe that there's nothing disputable about it.
This would have been a wonderful objection, had I claimed there being "nothing disputable" in any potential future litigation citing the GNU General Public License. What I was saying was that your question of "What is this GPL that was accepted?" is rather silly in context: It is a conditional rights grant (now available in two exciting popular flavours) that, regardless of whether adjudicated under copyright law, contract law, or both, and regardless of applicable jurisdiction, is quite clear in its general outline and effect. Chicken-Little-ism over there being any reasonable prospect for substantive legal questions is a waste of your time and ours: There simply isn't.
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