(OT) - Major Blow to Copyleft Theory

Michael Poole mdpoole at troilus.org
Mon Aug 27 17:52:26 UTC 2007

Chris Travers writes:

> Michael Poole wrote:
>> Arnoud Engelfriet writes:
>> The significance of whether the GPL is a contract is tied to common
>> (or at least US) law consequences of contract violation: in the US, a
>> court will usually remedy a contract violation through monetary
>> damages rather than ordering specific performance -- unless real
>> property is involved.  To meet its goal of increasing free software,
>> the FSF would obviously prefer to impose specific performance on GPL
>> violators.
> Honestly I dont see a problem here (IANAL) at least as regards the
> GPL. (Other licenses may vary.)
> You violate my copyrights in your commercial product, you owe me
> potentially serious monetary damages to the point where it is not
> worth it.  You continue to do so.  The GPL has now been terminated so
> this is basic copyright infringement and I get an injunction.
> What is wrong with awarding monetary damages *first* and them
> providing an option of an injunction if the behavior continues?

The GPL (per section 4 in v2, section 8 in v3) is not terminated by
the trial but by the *attempt* to perform the action that would give
rise to the trial.  If a later GPL violation is copyright
infringement, so is any earlier violation.

If a GPL violation is a breach of license -- rather than a copyright
infringement -- then the monetary remedy that was adequate the first
time around could be argued to be adequate later.  In particular, an
injunction is only available for irreparable harm that cannot be
remedied by other recourse under law.  Monetary damages are probably
the most common example of other recourse.

Michael Poole

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