[License-discuss] combining GPL and proprietary software - was: CC withdrawl of CC0 from OSI process

Chad Perrin perrin at apotheon.com
Fri Mar 2 18:38:24 UTC 2012

On Fri, Mar 02, 2012 at 09:50:22AM -0800, Bruce Perens wrote:
> On 03/01/2012 11:57 PM, Chris Travers wrote:
> >
> >Ok, so part of avoiding lawsuits is to avoid areas where folks
> >think they can sue about.
> Not quite, because neophytes think they can sue about anything.
> Sometimes lawyers cooperate in this, because they think the victim
> will settle or otherwise change their behavior without ever getting
> near a court. So, it has to be an area where there is not such a
> bright line that litigation would immediately fail and that any
> competent attorney would know that.
> As an example, the abortive attempt of Astrolabe to sue Olsen over
> the timezone database had the obvious flaw that it attempted to
> assert copyright law over facts like legislative changes to daylight
> savings time. When the defendant showed them a fully-written
> pleading for a Rule 11 sanction, Astrolabe withdrew. No gray area
> there.

On the other hand, "a fully-written pleading for a Rule 11 sanction" is
beyond the means of someone who cannot afford a competent attorney.  I
suppose *those* developers, then, should just "avoid areas where folks
think they can sue" based on the above statements.

There seem to be three general approaches to failing to address the
important matter of how to deal with the needs of independent open source
software developers:

1. "It's easy!  All you need is the ability to fall back on a lawyer's

2. "It's easy!  Just avoid everything."

These are not the only approaches I find problematic, but they're the two
biggies that utterly fail to meaningfully address the needs of a lone
open source software developer who just wants to stay out of touble.

Chad Perrin [ original content licensed OWL: http://owl.apotheon.org ]

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