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Court Ruling Clouds Open Source Licensing

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the artistic-license-only dept.

The Courts 143

JosefAssad writes "In a decision centering around a question of a violation of the Artistic License, a San Francisco court has denied an injunction against Matthew Katzer in the favor of Robert Jacobsen of the JMRI project. Importantly, the decision makes the point that the Artistic License is a contract, an interpretation that the Free Software Foundation has been keen to avoid as a legal stance. The JMRI project has a page up with the legal background and developments."

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Nuts. What does this do to other "contracts"? (2, Interesting)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358059)

So what does this do for EULA? Do all the obnoxious terms of use suddenly vaporize? Can people now publish Oracle studies? Can I now use Front Page to say bad things about M$? Can I now use Windoze under as many VMs as I want and serve it with Xforwarding or as a web service because, I'm not really making a copy and that's all that copyright halts? I can see all sorts of ways the non free software world will rue the day copyright was weakened.

Re:Nuts. What does this do to other "contracts"? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358083)

Men: This guide is for WOMEN ONLY; you can stop right here and get your rocks off on something else.

Women: Have you ever wished you could have-

  • The hottest oral and vaginal sex (up to 6 orgasms for me in one session!)?
  • Simple pure physical satisfaction with no strings attached?
  • Sex without AIDS or pregnancy fears?
  • Private sex that no one will ever find out about?

If you answered yes to any of these, then you should consider having sex with a dog. Wait, don't laugh! I am VERY serious.

My name is Jamie, and I am not ashamed to say that I enjoy having sex with dogs (and I've been doing it since I was 14!), I am totally "normal" in almost all respects: I'm 28 and live in Los Angeles. I have a boyfriend who is pretty good in bed and I have a great job as a graphic artist. But I've found that dogs can actually be better and more satisfying lovers than either men or women!

I know that sounds weird, and a lot of you will be shocked by this, but thousands of women and girls worldwide agree with me, and, by all indications, more women are discovering this secret every day. Women have been having sex with animals for centuries, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to any woman who wants to experience what is possibly the most intense and electrifying sexual experience there is.

If you have a dog, chances are he is practically your best friend already. He is more loyal than any man, and loves you completely, unlike many men. He doesn't talk back or argue, and he's always there for you. Why not take it a step further and let him become your sexual lover? Male dogs are naturally horny practically all the time, so helping him relieve some sexual frustration can just be a demonstration of your love for him, and a lot of fun for you! Unlike men, dogs are almost always ready to have sex when you want to, they won't tell all their friends about your experience together (and who cares if they do?), they can't expose you to AIDS or other sexual diseases, and, perhaps best of all, they can't get you pregnant!

Now, I'm not some weirdo who advocates sleeping only with dogs and not with men. Far from it: I have a good relationship with my boyfriend and we are sexually active. (I've also had one serious relationship with a woman.) However, I seem to be hornier than he is, particularly at certain times of the month. There are times when my guy isn't around, or doesn't feel like it, or I don't want the emotional complications involved with human sex. I can then turn to my doggie to get off, and its great.

I'm sure many of you are disgusted by this whole thing, and that's okay. Just quit reading now and go on with your boring "normal" sex life. But if you want to learn more, keep reading.

I first had sexual contact with a dog when I was 14, and it continued off and on until I went to college. But I always felt ashamed or weird or guilty, and that kind of ruined the experience. After I graduated and had my own place, I also got a dog. One night, I came home drunk and ended up messing around with Max again. Afterwards, I thought about it, and I decided that I didn't have to feel guilty about pleasing myself and my dog. I decided that if God didn't want us to do it, he wouldn't have made dogs so interested in sniffing and licking human females. It's my body, and my puppy, and I can do what I want as long as it doesn't hurt either one of us!

Okay, enough about me, let's discuss how YOU can enjoy dog sex. There are three areas that I will cover in this guide: Oral sex, Vaginal sex and Anal sex. My thanks to the original writer of this guide (it wasn't me, but I edited it and I agree with almost everything she wrote).

ORAL SEX Oral sex is the way many women first get exposed to dog love. Dogs are naturally attracted to the scent of a woman's vagina, so many of you have already discovered that Rover likes to sniff your panties or even your crotch. Allowing him to take it a step further is an excellent way to experience some of the greatest oral sex you will ever have in your life! One of the nicest things about allowing a dog to lick your snatch is that most male dogs will spend much more time than a human male providing you with the most electrifying oral sex. A dogs tongue is also much longer and is able to get to many places that a man can't or won't. A dogs tongue is covered with thousands of tiny buds that when he licks your clitoris you will feel sensations that you did not know existed. And, how many of you have had a man give you analingus? Not many i'll bet. Well, I'm hear to tell you that having your ass licked is a great thing, and a dog has no problem doing it for you!. If you have never experienced a tongue working from the very top of your slit all the way around to the end of your crack you have truly missed something grand.

There are several very good positions for you to try if you want to try this. If you decide that your preference is clitoral/vaginal only I have found one position that works very well. I recommend that you sit on the edge of a bed so that the back of your calfs are flat against the edge of the bed. You then lay straight back picking your feet up and placing the on the edge of the bed. This will expose your clitoris, labia and vagina to his waiting tongue. For those of you who would like more but want to prevent him from trying to mount you then the ideal position is reclining on your side, on pillows or cushions, on the floor. All you have to do at that point is to raise your leg a little and he will have access to all of your pussy and ass. For those of you that want that ultimate experience you will have to give give him full and total access to you. This can only happen when you are down on all fours. Now I know that staying in that position for more than a few minutes is not comfortable at all but there is one way that I have found that will be both very comfortable and very enjoying. You kneel at the edge of your bed and then lie the upper part of you body face down onto the bed, keeping your knees on the floor. You then spread your knees apart as much as you dare giving him full access to you. One very important item to remember while you are considering what position you would like to use is that if you do not wish to have him mount you this is not the position to use.

Now that we gone over all the wonderful things that a dog can do for you with his tongue, lets talk about what you can do with yours. According to several doctors and veterinarians I have spoken with, a dogs cock is three times cleaner that a mans cock. A dog will spend considerable time every day cleaning it, how many men do you know that do that? So, why not try it? I find that when I am sucking off a dog, I have a tremendous amount of mental stimulation that gets me horny as hell! Just knowing that I am sucking on an animals dick will get me so horny, that it doesn't take much to get me off. I will usually use a free hand to masturbate while I am sucking him, and I have some of the greatest orgasms this way.

Most male dogs will gladly allow you to suck them and there are many positions to do it in. I find that two positions are very good and are easy to accomplish. For those of you that are just starting out and are nervous about doing it I recommend that you have him lie on his back with you next to him. This will give you full access to his cock and be able to control all the action. But, another great method I use is to lie on my back with the back of my head slightly raised by a pillow and have him stand over me with his cock within reach of my mouth. Then he humps me and does all the work, leaving my hands free to masturbate myself with. One important thing to remember when sucking a dog: While most men like to have their balls rubbed or fondled while having their cocks sucked, this is not so with all dogs. Before starting any sexual activity with him touch and feel his cock and balls to insure that he does like it. The next thing that we are going to do now that we have gotten into the position that we prefer is begin to get him aroused. I find that the best way is to first gently stroke his cock through his sheath until it begins to enlarge and slip out. Once you have at least an inch of him out of his sheath you should gently take him into your mouth. You should continue to gently stoke him with your hand while you begin to slowly move you mouth back and forth over his cock. As you do this his cock will continue to enlarge until he reaches full erection.

While you are moving your mouth over his cock you should try to place the tip of you tongue into the indentation on the head of his cock as this will cause his to reach his climax. As he gets closer to his climax you will notice that at the base of his cock there is a very large bulge known as his knot. This knot is used to hold his cock inside a female (dog or human) until he has finished ejaculating. If you are considering going further then you should make a mental note of the size of his cock and knot. The average large dog has a cock, when aroused, that is 5 to 7 inches long and 1 and half to 2 inches wide. The knot for a dog whose cock is 6 inches long and 1 and a half wide can be two inches long and 4 inches wide. A dog is different than most mammals as from the time they begin to become aroused until they begin to get soft they will have some form of ejaculate coming from their cocks. At first arousal there is a clear thin fluid that tastes like iron and has the consistency of water, this is his precum that is for lubrication so his knot will slip into the females vagina. At full arousal is when he actually will produce his sperm and you can tell when this happens as his cum will begin to have a slightly salty taste to it. You should be aware that his cum will never be as thick as a mans but he will produce about twice as much as a man. I personally think that dog cum tastes much better than man cum.

VAGINAL SEX. Good old screwing thats what this is all about, well not quite. There are a number of things that differ from sex with a man other than the dog can't get you pregnant.

At this point I will assume that you have made the decision that you are going to have sexual intercourse with a large dog (75 pounds) and that you are there by yourself. I will be your companion and you may visualize me there. The first discussion is how are we going to do it. There are two prime positions to use, the old standard doggy style and the safer missionary style. If we choose the missionary position you can prevent him from getting his knot inside you and we can be in control the whole time. Ok you want to try the missionary position, you are siting on the edge of a chair, a towel under you to prevent his and your cum from staining the chair, your ass at the very edge legs spread wide apart. Here comes your lover he sees your warm and wet pussy and at once begins to sniff and lick it. You call him up to you so that he has his front paws on the chair his body between your legs. (I like to put some socks over his front paws so that he can't scratch me accidentally.)

Then you take his sheath in hand and begin to stroke it gently and as he begins to swell and extend you guide the end of his cock into you. As he feels the wetness and warmth of you he begins to hump, slowly at first then faster and faster until you feel his knot at the mouth of your vagina. As his cum slowly fills you up you too reach climax. If you allow him to put his knot inside you YOU WILL be together until he gets soft which usually take 15 to 20 minutes but can take up to 45 minutes. The major benefit of the missionary position is that if you do not want to have his knot inside you you can, in almost all cases, prevent it by holding it in your hand. I find that the most satisfying and arousing sensations I feel are caused by the knot being inside me. I try to have my dog put his knot in every time we make love, but whether or not you want to is up to you.

Doggy style is just that, you are down on all fours with him. This position will allow you to fully experience the pleasure of having a canine lover. He will at first sniff then lick you and after the tastes and smells begin to arouse him he will move to a position to mount you. A dog will usually come up directly behind you and mount you that way. Once he has mounted you he will begin to hump trying to get his cock into you, if this is something new to him then you should guide his cock to where it should go, he will do the rest. As the two of you continue he will move faster and faster with his strokes until you feel his knot begin to swell and rub at the lips. At this point we have decision time, If you want it inside you you should totally relax and allow him to slide it in. If you don't want it in you you should reach back with your hand and try to hold the knot with your hand. A simple note of warning, if you use this position and then decide that you don't want his knot in you you may not be able to prevent it from happening. If his knot is in you you WILL have to wait until he gets soft. I do not recommend you trying to remove it as unless your vagina is very large, it will hurt and may even injure you. So if you have any doubt's at all I would stick with the missionary position.

Well we are now mated and as his knot continues to swell inside you you begin to feel this warm feeling inside you. I have been told that a dogs body temperature is higher than a humans and that his cum is even warmer, and as he cum's deep inside you you can feel that warmth. His knot is now fully expanded, his cum is flowing into you, your juices begin to flow mixing with his and at this point you begin to feel his knot begin to throb. I found that while doing it doggy style as his knot pushs against the inside walls of my vagina it also pushes against the inside of my clitoris and that the sensations of that happening drive me wild. I have reached orgasm up to seven times in a row while this is happening.

ANAL SEX There are some things that you should consider before you attempt allowing your lover to mount you for the purpose of anal sex. You should be experienced with anal sex, by this I mean you should have no difficulty taking your human lovers cock into you. You will not always be successful with achieving penetration and if you do you may wind up with his knot inside you. If you now still want to try it well lets go. In finding a good position for male canine/human female anal sex I have tried dozens of positions and found many that work and many that didn't.

I have found that the best position is one called a modified doggy position. To get into that position you should first find a open space, very private of course, inside your house or wherever and place a soft pad on the floor for you to kneel on. You then kneel on the pad and get into a normal doggy position. To achieve the correct position you now bring your knees forward and tuck them up into your stomach. Now that you have done that you rest the front of your body on your elbows. Great you have mastered getting into the proper position, now there are some other things you have to do before you call to your lover. We have this little problem with lubrication that has to be solved with something otherwise this will really hurt. I have found that natural oils such as olive or corn oils work best and will not hurt your lover. NEVER NEVER use vaseline or that like as they will make the dog sick or even worse.

Well now we know what lubrication we are going to use we must now apply it. It is not enough to just smear a little oil on the outside of your anus for this to work, you must lubricate both outside as well as inside. The easy part is the outside and I leave that until I am in position to do. To lubricate the inside I have found that if I lubricate as much of the inside of my anus as possible I have no discomfort at all. I use a large eyedropper, that will hold about an once or so of oil, to get the oil inside and when I have done that insert one finger to spread the oil over the muscle.

Congratulations you are now ready, you have done your inside lubrication and are in the proper position and here comes your lover. You should now take your oil and rub some on your anus and the area around it. After he has mounted you you will probably have to guide him into you. Once he is inside he will hump just like an vaginal sex. The same precautions concerning his knot should be used here as well. I do not recommend those just starting out to try having him insert his knot. As there is not as much stimulation with anal sex you may want to gently masturbate while he is in you. There is one way to increase the stimulation and that is place a dildo into your vagina. This will transmit his movement inside you to you clitoris and help you reach climax.

Just a few footnotes about the fun of canine human sex. You can do all of these things while a human lover, male or female is present and in some cases the experience is more enjoyable. I would have liked to have had illustrations for this but I have not found someone to pose for them and I am more than a little nervous about having my picture here. Ladies any volunteers?

GOOD LUCK

Re:Nuts. What does this do to other "contracts"? (1, Insightful)

init100 (915886) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360699)

The fact that people actually take time to post such lengthy chunks of junk really have me baffled. Don't they have anything else to do?

Re:Nuts. What does this do to other "contracts"? (3, Informative)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358237)

IANAL, but I think the Oracle studies parts are probably quite challengable and probably difficult to enforce. The question is, how much money do you want to pay to prove that to a court?

Contract law does change a number of things, but it doesn't cause EULA's to vaporize. They are after all "End User License *Agreements*" where "Agreement" is used to imply a contract relationship.

I would also note that the GPLv3 has dropped all pretenses of being anything other than a contract. It doesn't state that it isn't a contract anymore, and certain clauses go well beyond copyright agreements (i.e. they give some people the right to manage terms of a copyright license independant of any copyrights of their own).

Personally, though IANAL, I think the differences are subtle but not altogether meaningless.

Re:Nuts. What does this do to other "contracts"? (3, Interesting)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358301)

I would also note that the GPLv3 has dropped all pretenses of being anything other than a contract. It doesn't state that it isn't a contract anymore, and certain clauses go well beyond copyright agreements (i.e. they give some people the right to manage terms of a copyright license independant of any copyrights of their own).

The GPLv3 is still structured as a license (or a set of licenses, with the patent clauses) rather than as a contract. It still only triggers on things that would violate copyright law (modification and distribution) rather than use. What, specifically, would make you think otherwise?

Re:Nuts. What does this do to other "contracts"? (2, Interesting)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359761)

The fact that the terms of the GPL are triggered by copyright doesn't magically mean that it can't be viewed as a contract by a court.

Re:Nuts. What does this do to other "contracts"? (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359851)

The major thing is that previous versions of the GPL expressly limited copyright term changes to the preparation of derivative works. THe GPL v3 provides that additional permissions beyond the scope of the GPL v3 through the mere act of distribution:

"Additional permissions" are terms that supplement the terms of this License by making exceptions from one or more of its conditions. Additional permissions that are applicable to the entire Program shall be treated as though they were included in this License, to the extent that they are valid under applicable law. If additional permissions apply only to part of the Program, that part may be used separately under those permissions, but the entire Program remains governed by this License without regard to the additional permissions.

When you convey a copy of a covered work, you may at your option remove any additional permissions from that copy, or from any part of it. (Additional permissions may be written to require their own removal in certain cases when you modify the work.) You may place additional permissions on material, added by you to a covered work, for which you have or can give appropriate copyright permission.

Re:Nuts. What does this do to other "contracts"? (1, Informative)

trollfactory (1147649) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359067)

IAAL, and Oracle has a solid case here. If they are able to prove that the said licensee unknowingly disclosed that the license is a contract, even though such may not be the case, then the plaintiff has a full legal discourse available to collect the aforementioned damages. The communistic nature of the GPL, and especially GPLv3, could easily prove to be detrimental to the FSF stance that it protects users' freedoms. In the eyes of the court, it may as well mean that it restricts users' freedoms by restricting their rights as to what they are allowed to do to the software. In that case, the most likely outcome is GPLv3 being outlawed, while GPLv2 would suffer greatly due to its association with the FSF, Once again, IAAL.

Re:Nuts. What does this do to other "contracts"? (3, Informative)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359605)

IANAL, but Oracle has a solid case, just like Lexmark had a solid case against SCC for slavishly copying the copyrighted software from their toner unit chips. Yet SCC prevailed in a defense of copyright misuse.

Oracle's case amounts to "You agreed to it." The attack on it might relate to questions of contracts of adhesion, procedural unconscionablily, competition law, or the like. In short, I think there is a good chance based on other contracts which have been voided that with enough time and effort, this clause might be vulnerable.

I believe that there are a number of bases relating to consumer contract law and copyright law which could be used to attack the Oracle clause. I have neither the money nor the time for such a fight though, and I would sooner pick a fight with some dual-license vendor over whether linking means derivation (because that equation is closer to my business than anything to do with Oracle).

As for your points regarding the GPL v3, I do agree that there are *serious* concerns that the license might be so far overreaching that it might be unenforceable on the basis of copyright misuse (particularly the implications of section 7 as relates to the Complete Corresponding Source Code). However, I do not see this being a viable method of attaching the GPL v2. One bit of analysis which makes similar claims is a bit of legal analysis mentioned in my latest journal entry (Why I Hesitate....).

The major arguments that I have seen relating to the GPL v2 are:

1) Section 2(b) could be seen as overreaching and pushing the limits of copyright law, laying claim to code that the author has no right to claim. This claim usually fails to mention at all the "mere aggregation" clause which would seem to include any work including the program other than a derivative work.

2) That the GPL is copyright misuse because it attacks the very system that copyright law was set up to protect. I would find this difficult to imagine in a court opinion because of the number of businesses which have successfully used the GPL to protect Thus the courts should not prevent businesses from deviating from standard licensing models just because they are at some point unusual.

Furthermore, the GPL v2 can be read easily as being fairly limited in scope (only those works where sufficient creative content is transferred could be derivative works, and mere dynamic linking would probably not apply. As such, the FSF's faq to the contrary, the scope of the effect of the GPL v2 may actually be quite limited. (This is not the case with the GPL v3.)

My most recent journal entry has a bunch of information on the GPL v2 and v3 as it relates to one of my projects.

EULA != Contract (3, Interesting)

Comboman (895500) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359107)

Contract law does change a number of things, but it doesn't cause EULA's to vaporize. They are after all "End User License *Agreements*" where "Agreement" is used to imply a contract relationship.

A contract requires the informed consent of both parties entering the agreement. It has yet to be proven in a court of law that clicking an 'OK' button equates to informed consent, especially if the terms of the "agreement" are not presented prior to the purchase.

Re:EULA != Contract (1)

alienw (585907) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359323)

You are quite wrong. There are several cases where courts have upheld such EULAs. Being that it is always necessary to make a copy of a program (at least in RAM) in order to use it, a EULA of some sort is always required.

Re:EULA != Contract (2, Insightful)

EvanED (569694) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359563)

Being that it is always necessary to make a copy of a program (at least in RAM) in order to use it, a EULA of some sort is always required.

No offense, but you're full of crap. That sort of copying is not infringing. 17 USC 117:

(a) Making of Additional Copy or Adaptation by Owner of Copy.-- Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106, it is not an infringement for the owner of a copy of a computer program to make or authorize the making of another copy or adaptation of that computer program provided:

(1) that such a new copy or adaptation is created as an essential step in the utilization of the computer program in conjunction with a machine and that it is used in no other manner...

Copying the program into ram is an essential step in the use of the program, thus that step is not infringing.

(Besides, if it were, you couldn't load the installation program into RAM in order to read the EULA.)

Re:EULA != Contract (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359671)

Copying it into RAM is allowed by the US Copyright Act, I think, but IANAL.

[I]t is not an infringement for the owner of a copy of a computer program to make or authorize the making
of another copy or adaptation of that computer program provided:
(1) that such a new copy or adaptation is created as an essential step in the utilization of the computer
program in conjunction with a machine and that it is used in no other manner . . . .
The issue is that these appear to be adhesion contracts which have a special set of rules attached. But they are contracts nonetheless and have been upheld as such by several courts, I believe (but again IANAL).

Re:EULA != Contract (2, Interesting)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359703)

No, that's incorrect. While there have been some cases upholding EULAs, as well as some cases the other way, US copyright law is clear that if you own a copy of a computer program, then you can make copies and adaptations in order to use the program, and that you can make backup copies (of the program -- there's nothing about other types of works, e.g. movies on DVD). The relevant statute is 17 USC 117.

There is really no need for software licenses for ordinary end users, IMO, and no one I've ever talked to has come up with a reason why they'd be needed as opposed to just relying on the Copyright Act. In some circumstances, a license and contract would be useful, e.g. for developers who want to modify the program and distribute their version, or for site licensing. But as for just going to the store and getting a CD in a box, not so much.

Re:EULA != Contract (3, Funny)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359651)

From one EULA:

"Should you fail to register any of the evaluation software available through our web pages and continue to use it, be advised that a leather-winged demon of the night will tear itself, shrieking blood and fury, from the endless caverns of the nether
world, hurl itself into the darkness with a thirst for blood on its slavering fangs and search the very threads of time for the
throbbing of your heartbeat. Just thought you'd want to know that. Alchemy Mindworks accepts no responsibility for any loss,
damage or expense caused by leather-winged demons of the night, either."

What am I agreeing to here?

IANAL, but note that there are specific issues with EULAs also as distinct from negotiated contracts. In short, an individual who needs to run Windows is more or less forced to agree to an adhesion contract. There may also be questions of unconscionability, and other issues to consider.

Moral of the story: Consult a lawyer as to whether Alchemy Mindworks is really within their legal right to disclaim damages from leather-winged demons of the night* enforcing their contracts.

* Are these meant to refer to BSA agents?

Re:Nuts. What does this do to other "contracts"? (1)

lysse (516445) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360825)

certain clauses go well beyond copyright agreements (i.e. they give some people the right to manage terms of a copyright license independant of any copyrights of their own)

Care to cite an example of that?

Re:Nuts. What does this do to other "contracts"? (1)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358395)

Hrm. What's suddenly very unclear here is the difference between a 'license' and a 'contract'. I'm fairly clear on what constitutes a contract: exchange of consideration and all that. A license, however, seems to be very different - it's almost like a bizarre form of contract, where party A will let party B behave in some way given certain conditions, but without an exchange of consideration. The odd thing is that I'm thinking (again, this is kind of thinking out loud here) it appears that there is some implicit consideration exchanged in a 'license': that is, the thing of value is whatever is being licensed. I suppose the question is what party B gives back to party A in that situation, and that's probably where the difference between 'contracts' and 'licenses' lies.

In instances where someone pays for a license, does that implicitly turn the agreement into a contract because there was an exchange of consideration with terms? From the little I know of contract law, I think it does, and calling it a 'license' instead of a 'contract' is just confusing things with terminology.

I've done some quick looking for the difference between a license and a contract and I can't really find anything that's a definitive discussion on the matter.

GPL seems clear enough. (2, Insightful)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358689)

What's suddenly very unclear here is the difference between a 'license' and a 'contract'.

The terminology is meaningless.

You can call it anything you want, but that does not change what the GPL or any other license says and what that's based on. These things are based on copyright, where the author alone has the right to publish works. That power must be absolute to be worth anything. Copyleft licenses generously give people that right as long as they agree to a few simple conditions. People who refuse to obey those conditions lose their right to distribute.

The fact that copyleft authors are not collecting money should not be held against them because they are doing what copyright law was designed to encourage. In every other copyright violation case, the authors are allowed an injunction because the rogue publication does the author real financial harm. That harm, for a limited time, is held greater than the good done by extra publication. In the copyleft case, harm is also done to the author and the public. The author is deprived of control of work and potential revenue, which should not be ignored any more than the revenue from a previously unpublished work. The public is also deprived of their freedom. That freedom has motivated publication of lots of high quality software. If the purpose of copyright is to encourage the creation and distribution of public works, software freedom must be protected and preserved.

If these jokers managed to weaken copyright, they will undo the power that also protects most non free software. You can't weaken control of free work without weakening that of non free work and because non free publishers depend on so much more control, that weakening will be more important to them.

Re:GPL seems clear enough. (1)

alienw (585907) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359475)

Yes, but in this case the work was licensed under the Artistic "license". There is a reason nobody in their right mind uses that license: it is extremely poorly written. It also allows just about anything to be done with the code. The court basically said that it isn't copyright infringement, since the requirement to preserve the copyright notice does not really limit the scope of the license, but rather imposes an additional requirement onto the licensee. Since no monetary damages can be proven here, about the only thing they could have done is made the guy put the copyright notice back in. Next time, they should use a better license.

At this point, I think JMRI has gone on into silly territory. Alleging copyright infringement because Katzer removed the attribution is rather silly, considering that the license is extremely permissive otherwise. Trying to allege that Katzer acted maliciously when he contacted the DOE with the FOIA request is equally silly -- anyone has the right to make a FOIA request, for any reason. In any case, trying to sue someone on rather shaky allegations is setting yourself up to fail.

Most parts EULAs are unenforceable (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359139)

For the most part, EULAs are divided in to parts that explain rights or restrictions that already exist or try and take away rights they can't. Thus it usually is a case of either something that can be enforced, but only because there's existing law about it, or something that is useless. The main reason companies do EULAs is to have a tool to try to scare people in to doing what they want. It isn't as though they are actually enforceable in court. Clicking "yes" isn't a legal agreement to a contract, and contracts must involve an exchange, and be executed prior to the exchange.

Artistic License is janky anyway. (4, Informative)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358077)

People have been complaining about the clarity of the Artistic License for years. I don't see this having any significant effect on any other Free Software licenses, especially not the GPL (since the GPL is explicitly designed as a copyright license rather than as a contract).

Re:Artistic License is janky anyway. (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358127)

I think that you are correct, mostly. It's a matter of perception and how arguments are presented. If the Artistic License is successfully bundled in a category of licenses that include the GNU license in a legal argument, then it's possible this ruling could have an effect.

The law is as influenced by politics and perception as are the more wild and woolly arenas of the legislative and executive branches. It's just that the influence is a lot more obtuse and subtle. The kind of perception shift involved in bundling all these licenses together and treating them similarly from a legal perspective is just the sort of politics I would expect from the judicial branch.

Re:Artistic License is janky anyway. (4, Insightful)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358265)

It's a matter of perception and how arguments are presented. If the Artistic License is successfully bundled in a category of licenses that include the GNU license in a legal argument, then it's possible this ruling could have an effect.

I don't think that's a terribly large risk. Unlike your average model train hobbyist or even programmer, lawyers and judges have quite a bit of legal training. You might be able to confuse them with technical details, but you're not going to get very far with "I know these two licenses have completely different terms, but they're really the same. These precedents from license A apply - you don't even need to read B.".

In this case, the reason for the ruling that the JRMI guys don't like is the lack of a termination clause in the Artistic license. They claim that this other guy violated the license terms (From Term 1: Copyright notices must be preserved), but even if that is true there still isn't a copyright violation - just a violation of a license term. If this were the GPL, any such violation would mean a license termination and therefore a copyright violation. With the Artistic License, all they get is a license dispute - which apparently doesn't get you immediate drastic court orders.

Re:Artistic License is janky anyway. (1)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358485)

I don't think that's a terribly large risk. Unlike your average model train hobbyist or even programmer, lawyers and judges have quite a bit of legal training.

That's the scary part; how did the SCO trial carry on for so long if that were the case? SCO was *the* most shorted stock on the exchanges for quite a long time--they never had a case--and yet the legal system let them tie things up for years and years.

Re:Artistic License is janky anyway. (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358745)

The SCO legal matters have carried on (and continue to carry on) because they are presumed to have a case until proven otherwise in court. Whether or not the stock on a company is being shorted during a legal proceeding has not bearing on that proceeding.

What exactly was it that you found "tied up" by the various SCO cases? Linux and OSS adoption briefly slowed until people got a sense that SCO was all hat and no cattle. Bosses that didn't want and don't want to adopt OSS would have found another excuse. Well financed legal cases between companies have a tendency to take a lot of time if they don't reach settlement. This is just how it is, and why no one sane really wants to be involved in litigation if they can help it.

You do realize that the SCO cases continue, do you not? Yes, a major issue was resolved in Novell's favor that will have a major impact on SCO v. IBM, bit neither case is technically over. Practically over? Yeah, maybe, probably.

Re:Artistic License is janky anyway. (1)

cboscari (220346) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358827)

IANAL - In the case of SCO vs everyone, it's because our( U.S.) legal system assumes that the party filing the suit wants the trial to proceed as quickly as possible for a judgment, so they can collect their damages or whatever they are asking for as quickly as possible. SCO didn't really want that, they wanted to delay for the FUD factor. There isn't really a way to prevent this (as apposed to the defense trying to stall for time, a tactic well addressed in court procedure.)As I understand it, if the *plaintiff* wants to stall, there aren't really a whole lot of safeguards. Perhaps someone with more legal training can put their two cents in here to confirm this. Anyway, as far as length, the idea is to give everyone enough opportunity to make their case. If you only had few days, you might not think that was very fair if you were on the receiving end of a suit you knew nothing about, would you?

Re:Artistic License is janky anyway. (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358489)

I don't know if the GPL (either versions) are any different with the respect to termination.

I kmow a few well qualified legal minds who have told me that you could accept the GPL and fail to adhere to it's terms and it would be a license dispute until a copyright holder specifically revoked your ability to use the software. Something like forgetting to distribute the source or thinking it was covered by some upstream provider and not distributing it would necessarily mean a copyright violation, at that point it would be a contract violation.'

I guess it all hinges on the intent to fulfill any obligations but for whatever reason you haven't yet. You have accepted the license but haven't fulfilled the specifics of the contract.

I have heard people argue otherwise but they never seem to address the steps involved. It is obvious that if you distribute a binary only module and place the source online somewhere, you intend to distribute the source too. But if no one has downloaded the source, then you haven't really distributed the source have you. So the intent to follow the specific in the contract do have some value.

I'm interested in your take on this in the light of this decision.

Re:Artistic License is janky anyway. (0)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358817)

I never thought of it that way. Interesting.

Hypothetical: I distribute a GPLed binary by putting it online. One minute later, I put the source online. For that one minute, I was violating copyright, and according to some hard asses around here, I would have broken the GPL, and be on the hook to the copyright holders. The fact that I was in compliance within 60 seconds wouldn't change the nature of the breach, and I could only hope that begging, pleading, and making offers of cash might make things right. According to certain folks (and taking their arguments to the absurd extreme).

So, yes, intent could figure into it along with timeliness of compliance. I don't think "I forgot!" is going to work for very long. =)

Re:Artistic License is janky anyway. (1)

Perky_Goth (594327) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359333)

The GPL only requires that you provide the source on request, so, no. At any rate, any judge would tell them to eat cake and stop wasting his time.

Re:Artistic License is janky anyway. (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358955)

As I understand it, the way it's supposed to work with GPLv2 is like this:

  • Violator distributes Programmer's software in violation of the GPL.
  • Programmer sues him for copyright infringement.
  • Violator: Wait a second, I've got a license under the GPL.
  • Programmer: You accepted the GPL? If so, it immediately terminated due to violation X. So you're violating my copyright in any case.

At that point, the violator has three options:

  • Argue that he didn't violate the GPL, in which case the copyright holder would have to show that he did.
  • Argue that he has some other license to the copyrighted work.
  • Argue that the termination clause (or some other relevant clause) in the GPL doesn't work.

The GPLv3 is slightly different, in that the copyright holder must explicitly notify the violator of the license termination no more than 60 days after the violation has ceased. That just adds a step for the copyright holder right before "sue for copyright infringement".

Oh, just to clarify: I'm not a lawyer. Slashdot posts aren't legal advice.

Re:Artistic License is janky anyway. (1)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359061)

The GPLv3 is slightly different, in that the copyright holder must explicitly notify the violator of the license termination no more than 60 days after the violation has ceased. That just adds a step for the copyright holder right before "sue for copyright infringement".

Apparently I'm wrong. The GPLv3 acts precisely the same as the GPLv2 - it just provides a way for violators who cease violation to have their licenses re-instated automatically *unless* they have been notified by the copyright holder.

Re:Artistic License is janky anyway. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20359557)

Well, GPLv3 fixes this. It allows for "cures" of a violation with specific terms.

http://lawandlifesiliconvalley.blogspot.com/2007/0 7/general-public-license-version-3-legal.html [blogspot.com]

"5. Termination. The GPLv2 terminated automatically upon failure to comply with its terms and continued use of the program was copyright infringement. GPLv2 did not address how to reinstate the rights under the license after coming back into compliance. This provision was particularly troubling as GPLv2 licensed software was used in consumer products such as television sets and computers which are sold in millions of units: even an inadvertent breach could result in massive liability for copyright infringement. The GPLv3 directly addresses this issue in Section 8. Although it continues to provide for automatic termination, it now includes a procedure for reinstatement. "

Re:Artistic License is janky anyway. (5, Interesting)

Mjec (666932) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358877)

They claim that this other guy violated the license terms (From Term 1: Copyright notices must be preserved), but even if that is true there still isn't a copyright violation - just a violation of a license term.

And thus the essence of the case.

JRMI claimed that the preservation of the copyright notice was a condition of the license such that there would be no license unless the notice was preserved. This means that any copying without the notice was outside the license and therefore was unlicensed reproduction, therefore copyright infringement. The judge held that in fact the copying was within the license but in breach of it - a breach of contract. Although it seems as though "the bad guys" did something wrong in each case, there is a difference in remedy.

If you are in breach of a contract the court will generally only grant damages - that is, the person has to pay you for the breach. If you are a copyright violator then the court will grant an injunction (specifically there is a presumption that an injunction is an appropriate remedy for copyright violation, whereas the presumption for contract is that an injunction is inappropriate). An injunction means you can tell the violator to stop what they're doing (or otherwise impose a legal requirement to act in a certain way or to not act in a certain way).

The reason this case is thought of as a bad thing is it seems to imply that any copying of anything released under a free software license (the distinctions between the GPL and the Artistic License are unimportant for this point) is ipso facto not copyright infringement though it may be a violation of the license. This ruling seems inconsistent with the Sun case where anything denoted as a "condition" it was considered would be sufficient to cause the behaviour to fall outside the license.

IANAL; I'm an Australian law student. The summary at Law & Life: Silicon Valley [blogspot.com] is excellent.

Re:Artistic License is janky anyway. (4, Informative)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359011)

The reason this case is thought of as a bad thing is it seems to imply that any copying of anything released under a free software license (the distinctions between the GPL and the Artistic License are unimportant for this point) is ipso facto not copyright infringement though it may be a violation of the license.

As far as I can tell, this is why the GPL has a termination clause - to turn license violations into copyright infringements. Since the Artistic License has no such clause, it would seem to me that this case implies nothing about a similar case with the GPL.

Re:Artistic License is janky anyway. (1)

Mjec (666932) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359909)

As far as I can tell, this is why the GPL has a termination clause - to turn license violations into copyright infringements. Since the Artistic License has no such clause, it would seem to me that this case implies nothing about a similar case with the GPL.

This is a valid point. I'm not sure of the situation in the USA but in Australia there is an implicit termination upon breach of a condition (well, there's a right to termination that would probably be impliedly exercised by the nature of the license). The issue was that in this case breach of a condition did not cause the license to be terminated, it was only a breach. This is analogous to a waranty (entitiling the plaintiff to damages) as opposed to a condition (entitling the plaintiff to termination), despite the condition being specifically worded as such.

Even if it allows the GPL to continue unhindered this decision requires a termination clause, contrary to statements made in the Sun case (though they may indeed be obiter[1]). The implication of that case was that breach of any condition would be sufficient to place the infringment outside the license.

[1] Not relevant to the reason for the decision and therefore not binding but made in the judgement.

Re:Artistic License is janky anyway. (1)

HappyUserPerson (954699) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360117)

This ruling seems inconsistent with the Sun case where anything denoted as a "condition" it was considered would be sufficient to cause the behaviour to fall outside the license.

Actually the defendants used the president set by Sun v. Microsoft to make their argument.

My rough transcript: link, line 11, page 7. [sourceforge.net]

The Ninth Circuit has held that open source licensors such as Jacobsen waive their right to sure for copyright infringement and can only sue for breach of contract. Sun Microsystems, Inc. v. Microsoft Corp., 188F.3d 115, 112 (9th Cir 1999). In Sun Microsystems, Sun and Microsoft entered into a computer licensing agreement involving Java, a computer programming language developed by Sun. Id. At 1117. Sun granted Microsoft broad rights to use the language provided that Microsoft make available only products that are compatible with Sun standards. Id. At 118. Sun filed suit against Microsoft for copyright infringement alleging that Microsoft had exceeded the scope of the license by creating enhanced versions of Java that were fully operational only on Microsoft Systems. Id. The Ninth Circuit held that, before Sun cold avail itself of the benefits of copyright law, it must "definitively establish that the rights it claims were violated are copright, not contractual rights." Id. At 1112. This determination, according to the Ninth Circuit, hinges on the scope of the license agreement. Id. At 1121. "Generally, a copyright owner who grants a nonexclusive license to use his copyrighted material waives his right to sue the licensee for copyright infringement and can only sue for breach of contract." Id. (citing Graham v. James, 144 F.3d 229, 236 (2nd Cir. 1998)). In other words, to bring a copyright infringement claim, Jacobsen must establish that the defendants have violated at least one of the exclusive rights granted to copyright holders under 17 U.S.C. 106, and not a right conferred by the license or contract. Sun Microsystems at 1122; see also A&M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc., 239 F.3d 10004, 1013 (9th Cir. 2001). Section 106 of the Copyright Act grants a copyright holder the exclusive right to reproduce, prepare derivative works of, distribute, display, and perform the copyrighted material. 17 U.S.C 106.

The argument gets more interesting from there, but my fingers are tired of transcribing.

Re:Artistic License is janky anyway. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20360855)

Note that in some countries there is no difference between a software license and a contract. This effectively meant that the GPL was meaningless, but that's another story. In those countries software licenses are considered contracts. Also, I've heard from a Dutch friend who studied law (has graduated since) that in the Netherlands a breach of a contract term renders the entire contract invalid (unless there is a specific clause in the contract governing contract clause breaches, but I don't know the details) and that the situation before contract entry should be restored as far as possible. This provides for some extremely complicated court rulings in other areas, but in the case of a software license I think you'd simply get a copyright violation.

Re:Artistic License is janky anyway. (0, Troll)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358313)

Don't be naive. The people who have fought hardest to have draconian copyright laws enacted (Disney, Sony, Microsoft, et al.) are also those who have the most to fear from open source. They will be delighted to have any legal precedent that weakens the power of authors to enforce copyright under the terms of any open source license, and will use such precedent any chance they get. Artistic, GPL, BSD, doesn't matter -- they hate the whole idea of open source, and this decision is a powerful tool for them.

Re:Artistic License is janky anyway. (3, Interesting)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358363)

they hate the whole idea of open source, and this decision is a powerful tool for them.

It's only a powerful PR tool, not a powerful legal tool.

Judges and Laywers think that legal text is pretty important - they're not going to treat a ruling on the specific interpretation and enforcement of one license as applying to some other license. And that's what this ruling is - a ruling on the specifics of correcting a potential (very arguable) violation of clause #1 of the Artistic license.

Re:Artistic License is janky anyway. (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359039)

That's an interesting lump there, Daniel. MS we know is anti-OSS. Sony I can see being anti-OSS every other day. Disney? Have any substantiation?

Fwiw, I don't think you're trolling . . . . . much. =)

Re:Artistic License is janky anyway. (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359367)

I don't know of Disney being anti-OSS specifically, but they're certainly anti-open-content, which I see as closely related. They certainly fight against anything falling into the public domain (although they have no trouble using public domain sources for their own work) and against the fair ue doctrine, and I wouldn't be surprised if they find a reason to go after the Creative Commons and similar licenses at some point.

SIGH (0, Troll)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359441)

Will people STOP trying to say that posting the latest South Park episode on YOUTUBE is fair use. It is not.

Re:Artistic License is janky anyway. (2, Insightful)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360213)

Sure, they want to limit fair use so as to make more profit. Sure, they're another scummy media company (We call their studios "Mouscwitz" here in L.A.) But it doesn't follow that they're against OSS or even CC, and I haven't seen any proof of such. However, I'm not saying not to be suspicious of them, please do. I just wondered if you had any actual dirt. The worst I can say about them from personal experience is that they're very slow to pay independent contractors in some cases.

Re:Artistic License is janky anyway. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20361009)

The people who have fought hardest to have draconian copyright laws enacted (Disney, Sony, Microsoft, et al.) are also those who have the most to fear from open source
Microsoft make money from off-the-shelf software, so they have a lot to fear. Sony? They predominantly make money from hardware and music / video sales. Free Software can be value-added on the hardware, and lower the cost of producing the content. The same is true of Disney; what do you think the Disney-Pixar render farms run?

Re:Artistic License is janky anyway. (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359713)

Doesn't matter much (IMO, IANAL) since copyright defaults to "you can't use another person's work", so for something released only under GPL, if the GPL isn't found to relate to copyright (as in, "it's a contract only"), then you have no way of modifying/distributing the GPL work without infringing.

The FSF said the Artistic License was flawed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358091)

The FSF said the Artistic License was flawed. They were right. The fact that it is flawed doesn't affect the GPL. Nothing to see here folks, move along.

Re:The FSF said the Artistic License was flawed (1)

ajs (35943) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358375)

That, of course, depends on how broadly this precedent is applied.

Re:The FSF said the Artistic License was flawed (1)

alienw (585907) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359523)

It's not much of a precedent, since it's just a district court ruling.

Re:The FSF said the Artistic License was flawed (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360169)

Well, it's not an appellate decision (a decision made in a court of appeal, i.e., higher court), so it's not a binding precedent and thus not likely to be applied outside of this case, at all. GP is right. This license is failing on its own merits, and is not going to drag the GPL 2 down with it.

Not GPL! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358103)

This case is about the "Artistic License", and not the GPL!

And the case was about a preliminary injunction, not the validity of the license itself.

Looking at all this legal mumbo-jumbo (5, Funny)

waferhead (557795) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358111)

Looking at all this legal mumbo-jumbo (going through the chronology etc) makes me realize there was actually some sort of upside to just having it out with knives...

Re:Looking at all this legal mumbo-jumbo (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358147)

It certainly seems like that conflict resolution mechanism might more frequently lead to desirable results. That is, of course, presupposing that the winner is largely selected by random chance, which is a pretty big assumption I'll admit.

Re:Looking at all this legal mumbo-jumbo (4, Insightful)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358159)

There's another upside to having it out with knives - people realize that there are actual consequences involved.

Re:Looking at all this legal mumbo-jumbo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358189)

Which is why people will hire other people -better skilled at knife fighting- to represent themselves in a knife fight.

Re:Looking at all this legal mumbo-jumbo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358421)

which is why some people carry guns so they dont' get in a knife fight.

Re:Looking at all this legal mumbo-jumbo (1)

rmdir -r * (716956) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359727)

There's another upside to having it out with knives - people realize that there are actual consequences involved.
That goes well with your sig.

Re:Looking at all this legal mumbo-jumbo (1)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359773)

Believe it or not, I generally try to resolve things without resorting to any kind of violence. In fact, I tend to be the mediator and voice of reason in whatever group I happen to find myself.

While I am perfectly capable of *really* hurting someone, I'd really rather everyone just be decent to each other. It makes life a lot more plesant.

Part of the problem with a lot of people, I think, is that they don't feel any responsibility for their actions because there are generally no really serious consequences. That makes a lot of people more prone to try and screw other people over. After all, nothing bad happens to the people who succeed.

Re:Looking at all this legal mumbo-jumbo (1)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358487)

I disagree. Do you know how much those knives had to suffer, cutting up rather overweight medieval lords who usually died otherwise from obesity?

Re:Looking at all this legal mumbo-jumbo (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358515)

I know your making a joke but did you know that you don't die from obesity? It is some condition aggravated by the obesity. It is actually possible for obese people to be in better medical condition then regular weight people too. Although that is somewhat rare in the sense or stories that sticks out to us.

Re:Looking at all this legal mumbo-jumbo (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359477)

Right, and nobody dies from HIV either, but that doesn't stop the colloquialism "he died of AIDS" from being a useful and descriptive term.

Re:Looking at all this legal mumbo-jumbo (1)

dcapel (913969) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358751)

Upside of knives: Simple, final.

Downside of knives: The world would be controlled by physical strength, scientists and engineers (especially computer geeks) would be at a sever disadvantage in culture and law, and sports and physical attributes would be raised far above intelligence in societal worth.

Wait....

Re:Looking at all this legal mumbo-jumbo (1)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359191)

Downside of knives: The world would be controlled by physical strength, scientists and engineers (especially computer geeks) would be at a sever disadvantage in culture and law

Sorry, but you're really wrong on that one. Knife fighting, and indeed most kinds of fighting, does not favor the stronger person. The victor is generally the one who finds an opening and exploits it - something that is generally better done by the more agile and quicker combatant.

You have three general groups of people when it comes to fighters - big, strong people who are slower than average. People who may not hit as hard, but are a lot faster and more agile. And then there's the third group - people with strength, speed, and agility.

The problem is that most Americans are fixated on attacking someone head on, and that's just stupid. Experienced fighters try to find weak spots or create them instead of just trying to steamroller their opponant.

One of the things that I taught my students was to not to try and overpower your opponant unless you had good reason. It was especially easy for me to teach that to them considering that it would have been laughable for most of them to try and overpower me in the first place (I'm a rather large guy). My students generally ended up being the best in the group even though I started out with the problem people because I taught them the fact that skill, agility, and speed are often more important than brute strength.

People are fragile. It doesn't take a lot of pressure to open someone like a package of chips.

Re:Looking at all this legal mumbo-jumbo (1)

piojo (995934) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359259)

Downside of knives: The world would be controlled by physical strength, scientists and engineers (especially computer geeks) would be at a sever disadvantage

Damn right, I don't want to get severed by some sports player that's stronger than me!

Re:Looking at all this legal mumbo-jumbo (1)

waferhead (557795) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359613)

:-)

I was actually thinking knives would be more efficient overall.. Think cost to society.

Look at all those motions, imagine what all that lawyering up costs us all, (Inclucing actual costs of running the court system)

Games (1)

Rissole (693590) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359543)

Make linux run games. ALL GAMES. Get to work. Stoip looking at me like that. ??? PROFIT!

Use it or lose it... (-1, Flamebait)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358259)

I think this should make it clear that if you wish your code to be free, then half measures won't work. The GPL has been tested in court numerous times. Use it or lose it...

Re:Use it or lose it... (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358293)

The GPL has never been tested in a US court.

Re:Use it or lose it... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358605)

And it doesnt need to be to be completely vaild, which too many people here just dont understand.

The GPL is based on copyright law. That is, the GPL allows you to copy under certain circumstances. Copyright law is very well tested and understandable - if you dont agree to the GPL, you dont have the right to copy. Simple, aint it?

That's why the GPL does not need to be tested by itself and while it's a copyright licence it will never need testing.

So.. (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358725)

So what if the courts decide it is not valid then the rest of US copyright law must/will be thrown out at the same time. This in itself is not a bad thing.

Re:Use it or lose it... (2, Informative)

Raul654 (453029) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358849)

The GPL has never been tested in a US court.

False [groklaw.net]

Re:Use it or lose it... (1)

teslatug (543527) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358937)

That's not a test of the GPL, it's a test of representing yourself in a lawsuit and how badly you can do if you're not a lawyer.

Re:Use it or lose it... (3, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358331)

First of all, as another posted pointed out, the GPL hasn't been tested in a US court; more generally. it is not a magic bullet that guarantees your software will be Henceforth And Forever Free, and it would be nice if people would stop assuming it is. Second, not everyone wants their software to be "Free" in the way RMS does -- the Artistic License is a nice middle ground between the GPL and the BSD, it's the license under which one of the most popular pieces of software ever written (Perl) is released, and it certainly should be possible for authors to use it without being afraid that an ill-informed court will undercut their rights.

Re:Use it or lose it... (3, Informative)

Chandon Seldon (43083) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358413)

the Artistic License is a nice middle ground between the GPL and the BSD

Is it? Does anyone even know what the actual results of the legal text are? As far as I can tell, it basically says "you can't modify unmodified copies" and "you can't sell this software, but you can charge money for it".

it certainly should be possible for authors to use it without being afraid that an ill-informed court will undercut their rights.

Licenses only do things that they actually say, not things that someone hopes they say. Licenses are one of the places where just trying isn't good enough - you have to get it right. The Artistic License got it wrong enough that even the Perl people aren't using it for anything new - they're using a revised version that's significantly more clear.

Re:Use it or lose it... (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358461)

and it certainly should be possible for authors to use it without being afraid that an ill-informed court will undercut their rights.

Well, from what's going on in this case, it's starting to look like the Artistic License is failing to protect those rights, doesn't it? Can you be absolutely certain that an ill-informed court is at fault, and not a poorly written license?

I mean, it's pretty damning when you can't get an injunction against someone who admits copying your material and selling it.

Interesting as pertains to the story earlier about (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359253)

OSS license proliferation. Bad licenses will perish, and hopefully people will be more careful when selecting a license. I've got a feeling that people are going to be reviewing their licenses now, in light of this ruling.

Re:Use it or lose it... (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358541)

First of all, as another posted pointed out, the GPL hasn't been tested in a US court

It depends on what you mean by "tested". It was most definitely at issue in Daniel Wallace v. Free Software Foundation, Inc. [groklaw.net] , where the plaintiff sued the FSF for anticompetitive price fixing (and lost, and had to pay court costs.).

If I recall correctly, the GPL was also at issue in one or more of the SCO cases, though I don't know whether the court ever ruled on it.

Re:Use it or lose it... (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359231)

iirc, it's still at issue in IBM's counter-claim against SCO, for continuing to distribute Linux in violation of the GPL. In the judge's big ruling in SCO v. Novell, he's effectively cratered all of SCO's cases. What remains to be seen is how deep of a hole can be dug in Linden, Utah by all the various counterclaims (and Redhat's claim of trade interference). Beyond that, it is possible that SCO shareholders might go after McBride for fraud and materially misrepresenting SCO's legal case.

Most People Never Exercise Their Rights. (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358803)

not everyone wants their software to be "Free" in the way RMS does

Not everyone wants to publish a newspaper either. That does not make it right to restrict presses.

The issue is what control authors have over their work. This court has weakened the control everyone has. Following the idiot logic of this court, I can take your unpublished manuscript, promote it, sell it and never fear an injunction simply because you did not restrict your work enough.

Re:Most People Never Exercise Their Rights. (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360151)

Following the idiot logic of this court, I can take your unpublished manuscript, promote it, sell it and never fear an injunction simply because you did not restrict your work enough.
Calm down, Crazy Legs*. An unpublished work is still covered by copyright; please see the Berne Convention [wikipedia.org] .

*Crazy Legs, because your knee jerk responses bring to mind the running style of Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch, of whom it was said, ""His crazy legs were gyrating in six different directions, all at the same time; he looked like a demented duck."

NewYorkCountryLawyer, please help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358345)

NYCL, since you are the only layer who reads /. regularly, can you break this down to a few paragraphs that us mere mortals can comprehend?

Re:NewYorkCountryLawyer, please help (2, Funny)

Creedo (548980) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359047)

since you are the only layer who reads /. regularly
Now, just wait a damned minute there. I lay on a regular basis. It's one of the benefits of being married.

Re:NewYorkCountryLawyer, please help (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20359353)

one of the benefits of being married.

So you don't read slashdot all that regularly, right?

Re:NewYorkCountryLawyer, please help (1)

MrDoh1 (906953) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360427)

"...lay on a regular basis. It's one of the benefits of being married."

As someone that is, you sir, cannot truly be married...

Very Unclear Summary (1)

Watson Ladd (955755) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358533)

Is the injunction in favor, or the decision?

Re:Very Unclear Summary (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358687)

Is the injunction in favor, or the decision?

The injunction is (or was to be) in favor of the "good guys", not the decision. I hope the license text is clearer than that summary, though it's not looking that way.

Can't Tell (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358553)

I can't tell from the summary if the good guys are winning -- or losing.

slashdotted.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358571)

Looks like the KAM Industries web server has given up.
http://www.trainpriority.com/ [trainpriority.com] , http://www.kamind.net/ [kamind.net]
both are giving a "Server Error in '/' Application".
Looks like asp died to me.

Re:slashdotted.... (1)

clashdot (1034936) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358981)

Read the documents. That Katzer guy is evil. Not only did he threaten the good guys, but also flat out stole their code.

By the way, did you hear about this cool file, it's called /etc/crontab or something. It lets you schedule jobs, say 12 minutes past the hour, every hour. It would be a shame if you added something like the below; that could really strain Katzer's poor little ASP web server.

12 * * * * nobody wget --quiet -r kamind.net www.trainpriority.com -O /dev/null

'license' vs 'contract' distinction as stupid (1)

frankenheinz (976104) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358607)

Too much has been made over perceived distinction between 'license' and 'contract'. A 'license' is simply a promise (by the licensor) not to sue (or use self-help against) the licensee for doing the thing(s) covered by the license. That promise only becomes binding when supported by consideration (or consideration substitute) on the part of the licensee (possible exceptions in the case of real property n/a here). Of course, when a promise is given in exchange for consideration, the result is an agreement enforceable at law, i,e., A CONTRACT.

Re:'license' vs 'contract' look it up on Groklaw (2, Informative)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358779)

The difference between 'license' vs 'contract' has been explained on Groklaw [groklaw.net] , several times. Please visit the site, look it up and get educated.

Re:'license' vs 'contract' look it up on Groklaw (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359119)

Why should anyone rely on a single source for an explanation? Clearly, you don't have enough of a grasp on the explanation Groklaw provided to counter the GP; you are in effect saying "You're wrong because I heard something different elsewhere, go look up my source." At best, it shows you are being lazy, at worst that you don't understand and are willing to trust certain sources uncritically.

Groklaw is a great resource for legal understanding of issues related to OSS. However, merely accepting what you read there because they are the "good guys" is not going to lead to any understanding. If you had any understanding, you could address the GP on his own terms.

Re:'license' vs 'contract' look it up on Groklaw (1)

frankenheinz (976104) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359541)

heh. Groklaw is no way to get educated, son. That lightweight site doesn't contain anything sufficient to refute what I've said. (Stallman's wishful thinking and a few rogue jurisdictions notwithstanding.) Btw, one of the implications of licenses being interpreted and enforced as a matter of contract law is that they are governed by the substantive law of the forum (e.g., State) which is subject to some variation.

Re:'license' vs 'contract' look it up on Groklaw (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359779)

Nevertheless, the previous poster is correct. A mere license, standing alone, is unreliable. It can be unilaterally withdrawn by the licensor, at any time, for any reason, or for no reason at all. At most you would be able to fight to get a bit of time to shut down whatever you were doing in reliance on that license gracefully, but quickly, rather than having to stop instantly. It's like someone inviting you onto their land, then ordering you to leave.

So essentially, if Linus has a change of heart one day and says, that his portions of the Linux kernel are no longer GPL'ed, then this means it is no longer so, and worse still, that none of the portions based on his work can continue to be distributed either, most likely, which results in serious problems.

That's no good. And it's particularly contrary to the goals of the FSF in that if someone obtained a copyright to some important piece of code, they could make a lot of mischief by terminating the license. Sure, a replacement would come along, but great harm would be suffered in the meantime.

The GPL really is a contract, however, in that it imposes a contingent obligation on people who work under it. In order to receive the benefits of the GPL, a developer has to promise that he will abide by the requirements of the GPL (e.g. his distributions will be under the GPL). It doesn't obligate him to make distributions, but that just means that his obligation doesn't trigger until some contingency is met; it's still there, however. In exchange, you get an assurance that your rights under the GPL won't be arbitrarily terminated. It's a classic binding exchange of promises. One of those promises is a copyright license, but that doesn't mean that we stop analyzing the GPL there.

Re:'license' vs 'contract' look it up on Groklaw (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20361315)

Contract law is not generally applicable to a simple GPL dispute as there is nothing to dispute; plead either the license or copyright infringement. There are certainly edge cases and semantics but for the most part, thinking about the GPL as a contract would be plain wrong.

Which version? (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358705)

Anyone know which version of the AL the JRMI guys are using?

Re:Which version? (1)

chromatic (9471) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360075)

The version in dispute was AL 1.0. AL 2.0 wasn't out yet when this issue first arose.

Vindicating Public Domain Dedications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358727)

This is why I prefer to dedicate my material to the public domain rather than release it even under the most permissive licenses. There can't be some later legal problem with the license I've selected if I didn't select one.

Re:Vindicating Public Domain Dedications (1)

alienw (585907) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359565)

Yeah, so now you expose yourself to patent liability, warranty liability, and a few other things, without even being able to countersue or keep people from plagiarizing your stuff. Sounds good.

Re:Vindicating Public Domain Dedications (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20361385)

How would you *not* be open to patent liability just by releasing code that infringes a patent under a license? It still violates the patent.

If a *copright* license is a contract then... (1)

Helldesk Hound (981604) | more than 6 years ago | (#20360615)

... what impact would that have on the American DMCA?

And why has this person not threatened to use the DMCA to force those who are not properly attributing that fellows work into complying with the license?

Even better question: Why was that idiot using an Artistic License" instead of the GPL?

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