Subject: Re: JBoss aquired by Red Hat
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp>
Date: Sun, 30 Apr 2006 17:54:33 +0900

>>>>> "Thomas" == Thomas Lord <lord@emf.net> writes:

    Thomas> Step 3: Consultant breaks the NDA agreement and
    Thomas> distributes a copy to an innocent third party.  Quickly,
    Thomas> several other other innocent third parties receive
    Thomas> distributions from earlier innocent third parties.

    Thomas> Step 4: Customer notices this and tracks down all innocent
    Thomas> third parties, noticing them that they are in possession
    Thomas> of a trade secret.

    Thomas> It may be true that Consultant had no right to distribute
    Thomas> to the first innocent third party.  But the consequences
    Thomas> of her having done so prove that she *also* had no right
    Thomas> to distribute to Customer.

If this argument is correct, the GNU Project may as well close up
shop.  The argument works just as well for patents, so nobody has the
right to distribute software received under the GPL.

However, I don't think it is correct.  The law does not forbid you
(except in certain circumstances, such as if you are a policeman or
selling insurance against theft) from making promises which you can
keep only if you assume that all parties will keep their promises.
That's why the government enforces contracts, for example, so that the
parties have to worry about it only to a limited extent.


-- 
Graduate School of Systems and Information Engineering   University of Tsukuba
http://turnbull.sk.tsukuba.ac.jp/        Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
        Economics of Information Communication and Computation Systems
          Experimental Economics, Microeconomic Theory, Game Theory