Ken Brown kenbrown at
Thu Oct 31 14:59:51 UTC 2002


I appreciate your comments.  It is good to hear from you.  Fortunately (or
unfortunately) court precedent trumps assertion.  Just because a lot of
people believe that something is right does not make it right - ethically or
legally.  There are over a hundred examples of things that were common
practice for decades until ruled illegal by a court.   When it comes to the
law, it is not prudent to assume.

GPL advocates want the GPL to become the king of all free software licenses.
And if wants to be the king, it will have to go through the fire of legal
review in a court.

I am not being cynical, but the GPL is too overreaching.  This is not just
my opinion.  I have visited dozens of free software websites and developer
disfavor about the GPL is steadily increasing.  It is just a matter of time
before the tenuousness of this license ends up in a court. I think money
will also force this issue into court, because inevitably, someone's
confusion about the license will lead to the loss of a ton of money.  When
big cash is on the table, a court case is around the corner.

Stay in touch.


-----Original Message-----
From: Mahesh T Pai [mailto:paivakil at]
Sent: Thursday, October 31, 2002 7:33 AM
To: Ken Brown
Cc: Brendan Hide; license-discuss at
Subject: Re: Copyright

Ken Brown wrote:

> FSF has bullied a couple of developers, but hasn't had a judge rule
> in their favor yet.  When they win in a court of law, I'll open my
> mind to their sales pitch a little more.

If the means used by FSF are 'bullying', how do you describe the
activities of the BSA?

I regard the fact that there is no decision in favour of the GPL as a
major plus point in its favour.  Absence of a ruling in its favour
means, to me, :-
1. The license is easy to comply with.
2. There is no decision on GPL, coz no body went to court over it.
3. Nobody went to court over GPL coz. nobody continues with the
violations once the fact is pointed out.

That the FSF (or any other author who released his/her software under
the GPL) never had to go to court is a major plus point of the GPL.

> Without the restrictions of a license that insists on strict
> enforcement of your copyright, ...

You do not need a license to protect / enforce your copyright.  The
statute book does it.

> From my research, agreeing to GPL your work does not technically
> revoke your ownership of the playground, but it does revoke almost
> all of the rights and privileges that come with ownership

Will you please clarify that?

> I cannot control what anybody does with my
> work, besides assert credit,

That is the *intention* of the GPL.  In other words, it is not a bug
but a feature.

Mahesh T Pai.

license-discuss archive is at

license-discuss archive is at

More information about the License-discuss mailing list