FSF takes on Apple's App Store over GPL
Posted Jun 11, 2010 13:59 UTC (Fri) by Lefty
In reply to: FSF takes on Apple's App Store over GPL
Parent article: FSF takes on Apple's App Store over GPL
Anyone who claims the "legal situation" of Apple's being a "distributor" under the GPL is "clear" doesn't actually understand the legal situation.
Actually, the "legal situation" is completely unclear, at least of anything other than wishful thinking. The FSF's interpretation (of its own license) says that Apple's a "distributor" under the GPL, no question of that. There's a serious question as to whether a judge would agree, and no one's in a position to answer that, short of a court case.
In any case, the FSF has effectively told Apple that (again, in the FSF's view) Apple is somehow liable for the copyright infringement committed by Robota Softwarehouse, and the law certainly doesn't support that view.
The upshot, as I've been saying, is that if it's impossible for end developers to indemnify Apple (or Best Buy or WalMart) against the sort of "enforcement action" that the FSF has engaged in here, then Apple, Best Buy and WalMart will ensure that they make no GPL-licensed software available to consumers. Apple's apparently already done that.
No, it's not practical: it's hugely self-defeating in my view. But if the FSF wants to ensure that "free software" is painted into an ever-smaller corner, this is a fine way to go about it.
to post comments)