OT - Rant against case law
Posted Nov 17, 2009 12:47 UTC (Tue) by dwmw2
In reply to: OT - Rant against case law
Parent article: SamyGO: replacing television firmware
I understand your objection; allow me to rephrase that final sentence for you, to properly express the implicit subtext...
But nobody is right or wrong; it's not black and white. It's just a document written in English and there can be many different interpretations of it; ranging from the sane interpretations to the utterly nonsensical ones such as the "counter-arguments" I mentioned above.
There are very few interpretations which actually matter, though. The first one which matters to you might be the opinion of your company lawyer, when you consider shipping a product which violates the GPL by including both a kernel and a binary-only module in the same coherent whole. Or, as the GPL phrases it, in a "derivative or collective work based on" Linux.
If he is doing his job properly, he will prevent you from doing that. On the other hand if he doesn't do his job properly, you may well end up bumping up against an opinion which takes precedence over his — the opinion expressed by the (final appeal) court when you are sued for copyright violation.
That opinion, ultimately, is the only one which really matters. It doesn't make it right, and there's plenty of examples of cases where the courts have got things "wrong" in the eyes of many people. But it is the only interpretation which really matters in the end, in practical terms.
Unless, of course, you think the revolution is going to be triggered by a copyright case... :)
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