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The consequences of avoiding GPL

The consequences of avoiding GPL

Posted Aug 27, 2010 6:25 UTC (Fri) by rqosa (subscriber, #24136)
In reply to: The consequences of avoiding GPL by jejb
Parent article: A very grumpy editor's thoughts on Oracle

> Section 7 (of GPLv2) is very clear what happens when you take enforcement actions on this: the licence terminates and the software becomes undistributable ... for everyone.

Nothing in section 7 can cause the license to "terminate" (only violations of section 4 can cause that).

It's true that, according to section 7, the target of said "enforcement action" is no longer allowed to redistribute the software; but that applies only to the target of the "enforcement action", not to "everyone".

What's more, it's not at all clear that just any patent infringement lawsuit is enough to trigger this; only an "enforcement action" which forbids the target from "distribut[ing the software] so as to satisfy [...] [their] obligations under [the GPLv2]" triggers it.

And finally, notice that the GPLv2 itself effectively says that section 7 does nothing at all: "This section is intended to make thoroughly clear what is believed to be a consequence of the rest of this License." (In other words, if you took the GPLv2 and removed section 7, the resulting license text would have exactly the same legal effects as the unmodified GPLv2.)

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