GPL does not ask you to give up rights.
Posted Mar 1, 2011 22:14 UTC (Tue) by dskoll
In reply to: GPL does not ask you to give up rights.
Parent article: Red Hat's "obfuscated" kernel source
The GPL asks you to give up that right in exchange for distribution rights on any combined work.
Wrong. You give up that right in exchange for distribution rights on any derived work. There's a huge difference between "derived" and "combined".
To get excruciatingly correct, the license doesn't actually ask people to surrender those rights, it only offers something on condition that they not exercise them.
Wrong again. If a copyrighted work gets dropped into your lap, you have no rights whatsoever to redistribute it. So the GPL cannot offer something on condition you "not exercise certain rights" because you don't have any rights not to exercise in the first place! Again: the GPL grants you rights if you obey certain conditions. It does not remove rights.
Red Hat is removing rights. Their kernel patches are works derived from a GPL'd product and therefore anyone receiving the kernel patch has the rights granted under the GPL. Even Red Hat does not dispute that. However, Red Hat is punishing those customers who exercise rights they have already been granted by terminating their support contracts. While that may or may not be legal, it is certainly unethical.
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