Subject: Re: Judge does not rule on GPL
From: kragen@pobox.com (Kragen Sitaker)
Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2002 17:38:02 -0500 (EST)

First: my understanding is that Gemini is currently licensed under and
distributed in compliance with the GPL, but for a period of time last
year, was not.

Ian Taylor writes:
> If the judge made a final judgement that the GPL termination clause
> did not apply, that would matter a great deal.  In fact, the risk of
> that happening is such that I personally think it's a very bad idea
> to bring the GPL into court at all.

Why would it matter so much?  To my knowledge, the GPL termination
clause has never been invoked, and it seems that the threat of a
copyright infringement suit for damages should be sufficient to keep
violators in line.

Also, to my knowledge, MySQL AB didn't bring up the copyright
violation in court until many months after the fault had been
corrected.

It might make it easier to persuade people to distribute (and build
their businesses on) GPLed software if the termination clause were
held invalid in this case.  If the judge orders NuSphere to stop
distributing Gemini, there could be a significant chilling effect.
Surely most businesses that distribute GPLed software violate the GPL
at one time or another; if the copyright holder could use such
violations to extort tribute months or years later ("or we exercise
the termination clause and put you out of business"), GPLed software
would become effectively free for noncommercial use.

-- 
<kragen@pobox.com>       Kragen Sitaker     <http://www.pobox.com/~kragen/>
Techno addiction. More expensive than crack, keeps you up longer than
coke, makes you fatter than pot, but hey... it's legal. 
	-- Tim Byars <tbyars@earthlink.net>