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Garrett: The ongoing fight against GPL enforcement
Posted Jan 31, 2012 23:33 UTC (Tue) by zyga (subscriber, #81533)
With GPL, company A also need a tarball from company B. They have an obligation to put it somewhere and keep it there for a few years after their product ships. If the tarball does not match the binary they are in trouble. This applies recursively.
Now multiply that by each piece of copyleft code in a typical distribution (I can understand why Android wants to get rid of much of GPL). See, that _is_ more complicated.
As for your Windows 8 example. Sure I'm certain if you started selling laptops with pirated Windows you'd get a call from Microsoft legal. My reasoning was about how licensing product component works.
Now, if Microsoft purchases an asset from a third party, do you see Microsoft getting sued for something the third party did illegally?
Posted Jan 31, 2012 23:59 UTC (Tue) by BrucePerens (guest, #2510)
If company B sells a library for 0.01$ per unit and company A incorporates that in their next product that sells by the million they don't have to worry about people suing them for whatever B did. They have a contract, a library and some header files.
Posted Feb 1, 2012 0:47 UTC (Wed) by Duncan (guest, #6647)
Actually, yes. That's what has the smartphone market in such chaos ATM. The penalty is banning the product from being sold in whatever market where the laws were violated.
And in that regard, yes, the FLOSS world tend to be softies when it comes to license violations. I'm glad a few folks are standing up for their rights.
Meanwhile, a couple other points made well by others are worth repeating:
1) Whose copyright would /you/ choose to be found guilty of infringing, if it came to the choice, Sony's or SFC's? Sony doesn't exactly have a reputation of being soft on copyright infringement when it's there's, so why are folks trying to get them some slack for infringing that of others? (And the separate subsidiaries argument doesn't cut it either; if they wanted to be identified separately they'd not be using the same Sony brand name. Obviously they want the reputation that goes with the name, so they got it! Sony, the rootkit people! Sony, the people who sell a product with a set of services, then rip one of them away, after purchase! Sony, the folks known for making the lives of various customers a living hell, due to copyright infringement suits. THAT Sony!)
2) Never-the-less, if someone wants to create a BSD styled Busybox replacement to be free of the GPL obligations or for fun or for any other reason, as long as it's not using the same code, great! Let them do it! But, others in the community can note it and ask people with rights interest in other projects to step upto the plate, which is exactly what's happening. And if those people decide to or not, well, they're the ones with the copyright interest in the other projects, it's their decision to make.
So IOW, everything seems to be moving along pretty much as one might expect. An obstacle to the proprietary interests of some company becomes too much a thorn in the flesh for them and they move to avoid it. Normal and expected. Someone else doesn't like the way enforcement on a project they were involved in went and decides to create a new one with a licence that avoids the problem as they see it. Normal and expected. (Actually, that applies both to Landley and toybox, and the FSF and GPLv3.) This new project happens to fill the need created by that proprietary interests company looking for another alternative. What's unexpected about that? Other people in the community calling attention to all this and asking people who hadn't yet stepped up to the plate enforcement-wise with their copyright interest in other projects to do so. Well, that would be normal and expected as well.
What remains to be seen is if some of these other people /do/ decide to step up to that plate. If they weren't doing so before, perhaps they still won't, and violations will get more egregious. OTOH, perhaps it was just easier to let someone else take the heat, and now that they're not as effective any more, various other people with interests will fill the need.
Either way, it's their decision. And if they do enforce, then we'll see the cycle start again. And if they don't, well, perhaps at some point almost everything will be Tivoized and there won't be enough open products at a low enough cost to continue development, at which point the tragedy of the commons will prevail and all those proprietary companies will end up paying more for proprietary solutions. After all, they wouldn't have been using the FLOSS solutions if the FLOSS solutions weren't a good cost/benefit to them, so if they cause them to disappear thru locking everything up, they'll only have themselves to blame when their own costs go thru the roof due to FLOSS dying out because everything /is/ locked up.
But in practice, there does seem to be a dynamic balance that has seemed to tilt toward FLOSS. There's always the danger of reversals in various areas, but they haven't stopped the FLOSS train yet, and with vigilance, I don't believe they'll stop it now. IOW, I expect others to step up, now that they're needed, and continue the fight.
Posted Feb 1, 2012 11:48 UTC (Wed) by HenrikH (guest, #31152)
Of course they do, Company A infringes on the copyright regardless of the license deal they have with Company B. The only "thing" that they have is that they can sue Company B for the damages that Company A suffered due to Bs infringement.
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