Strong Court Ruling Upholds the Artistic License (fwd)

Joichi Ito jito at
Wed Aug 13 23:11:42 UTC 2008


Here's the brief.

- Joi

On 13 Aug 2008, at 16:09, Brian Behlendorf wrote:

> Awesome.
> 	Brian
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: 13 Aug 2008 22:26:07 -0000
> Subject: Strong Court Ruling Upholds the Artistic License
> Link:
> Posted by: timothy, on 2008-08-13 19:41:00
>   dilute writes "The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (an
>   authoritative court that normally deals with patent law), has  
> issued a
>   [1]strong ruling (PDF) upholding the [2]Artistic License in a
>   copyright dispute between the developers of the [3]Java Model  
> Railroad
>   Interface (JMRI), and Kamind, a company that used portions of
>   DecoderPro to develop [4]a competing product. The product at issue  
> was
>   DecoderPro, an open source project released on SourceForge under the
>   Artistic License, for interfacing with model railroad control chips.
>   Kamind used a number of DecoderPro files in developing its product,
>   Decoder Commander. However, Kamind did not comply with the Artistic
>   License in a number of respects, including attribution, copyright
>   notices, tracked changes or availability of the underlying standard
>   version." Read on for more, below.
>   Dilute continues: "The lower court denied relief, saying that the
>   Artistic License merely imposed "contractual" promises, and that a
>   violation did not constitute copyright infringement (any
>   contract-based relief would probably have been meaningless). In a
>   strong ruling, the Federal Circuit found that the Artistic License  
> is
>   legally enforceable, that its terms constituted "conditions" for
>   reliance on the license, and consequently that a violation of those
>   conditions would put the violating product outside the license and
>   thus make the violator a copyright infringer, potentially liable for
>   an injunction. The case lays out a clear and compelling  
> description of
>   the rationale for open source, and reflects a complete willingness  
> by
>   the court to lend the force of law to these licenses." Reader  
> ruphus13
>   point to [5]Lawrence Lessig's commentary on the ruling; Lessig calls
>   it "huge and important news," and notes that the reasoning is
>   generalizable to the GPL and other Free software licenses, as well.
> References
>   1.
>   2.
>   3.
>   4.
>   5. 
> huge_and_important_news_free_l.html

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