Posted Nov 15, 2012 16:09 UTC (Thu) by bkuhn
Parent article: RTS and the GPL
The only disturbing thing from all this is that there has been a lot of public-list and back-channel pressure to squelch the public discussion about this issue. I'm pretty convinced that I'll never get to see the facts of the matter because of that.
BTW, these situations aren't uncommon when an alleged GPL-violating product is expensive. The few customers that buy it don't really have an incentive to report the violation, so the violation continues. For example, I know of a very expensive home automation system that I'm pretty sure comes with no-source-nor-offer, but the product comes with custom installation and costs tens of thousands of USD, and I don't know anyone wealthy enough to have bought it to report the violation officially, so I'm left with just my suspicions.
I'm a true believer, though, in the USA concept of probable cause. Some criminals go free because there's no probable cause to believe they've done wrong. While copyright infringement is (and should always be) a civil matter, an analogous concept applies: suspicion of a violation isn't proof, and while I suspect a violation in lots of cases, I only pursue compliance matters when I believe the evidence available is strong enough that it “passes” the Rule 11(a)(b)(3) requirements of civil procedure in the USA.
That means that some GPL violators get away with violations because no one who has witnessed the violation will come forward with facts. It's a pity, but it happens more than you might suspect. I certainly rather that scenario than than a BSA-style police state.
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