GPL issue at my work place

Tzeng, Nigel H. Nigel.Tzeng at
Fri Jan 18 13:20:34 UTC 2008

>From: Arnoud Engelfriet [mailto:arnoud at]
>As far as I can tell this has not made European lawyers more (or
>less) comfortable with open source licenses.

I think James's point is that without actual court results as opposed to
settlements the risks of using GPL is unbounded from the conservative
point of view of some corporate lawyers.

The worst case scenario is an injunction against distribution of all
affected products unless all the corporate IP used in the software is
released under GPL including all relevant software patents (under v3
anyway).  Business process patents presumably as well since they would
be codified in the software.

For the past cases, like BusyBox, it wasn't really THAT big a deal to
conform since those companies were largely hardware makers.  It was more
costly to have the devices sit in legal limbo hence the settlements

But for other domains the potential impact to a company could be quite
significant to have to conform to the GPL.  FSF's position on what is a
derivative work is not overly helpful in reducing concerns.  Not that
Sun would force a company to release their product IP because they used
the GPL'd MySQL connector library without a commercial license but that
they potentially COULD under the GPL has to be factored in.

There is a reason I use PostgeSQL over MySQL beyond any technical ones.

Certainly this conservatism can be seen in the current example even
though from Google's example they are on pretty safe ground.

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