[linux-elitists] Bizarre press release of the day

Adam Kessel adam@bostoncoop.net
Fri Nov 21 18:05:45 PST 2003

On Fri, Nov 21, 2003 at 08:34:49PM -0500, Mister Bad wrote:
> AK> I know someone at a fairly large software company that
> AK> discovered that a key library statically linked in their
> AK> product was licensed under the GPL a few days before the
> AK> product was to be released. 
> You're not describing a problem of Free Software; it's a problem of
> copyright in general. The company would have had the same problem if
> they'd linked against a proprietary library. You can't use somebody
> else's stuff except on their terms.

I didn't mean to imply that this was particular only to Free Software,
however, I do think it's at least marginally easier for inadvertent
infringement to occur with Free Software because: 

- source code is more readily available and modifiable
- confusion among the various meanings of Free.
  - I'm not saying that this confusion *should* exist, or that companies
    have any less of a duty to monitor for compliance with Free licenses
    vs. non-free, only that as a matter of practice, this confusion
    exists, and it may thus be more likely for this sort of infringement
    to occur
- perhaps an erroneous belief on the part of companies that there is no
  entity around to enforce free software licenses.  This is, of course,
  true to the limited extent that there is more money behind proprietary
  software companies at the time being, and thus they can put more
  resources into monitoring and enforcing copyright.
Adam Kessel
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