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    SubjectRe: GPL violations: make it harder
    On Tue, 5 Sep 2000, Mike A. Harris wrote:

    > If even one file in the kernel source gets modified, then the entire
    > patch is GPL via the GPL assimilation rules in COPYING - regardless of
    > what the author of the patch says.

    IANAL.

    i know this is what the GPL wants, but AFAIK it's never been tested in
    court.

    while there are continued attacks on our rights in the US -- such as
    microsoft and others trying to make shrinkwrap licenses enforceable, i
    believe it is still the case that there are some rights that you have to
    explicitly wave (by signature for example), no matter what a contract
    says.

    i can't say whether there are some rights that definitely apply here --
    and i doubt that it'll really be known until this goes all the way through
    the court system.

    but, for example, we all own rights to our words -- and have to explicitly
    give up those rights.

    another example -- someone reading enough linux-kernel can compose many
    patches or otherwise suggest modifications to the kernel without ever
    having downloaded the source, or used the kernel, or otherwise "agreed" to
    clause 5... simply because this mailing list, and our transactions on it
    do not include the approriate copyleft notices on them.

    also, there could be conflicts with contracts which you have signed with
    employers -- which typically give up a bunch of your rights, even in
    fields "unrelated" to your work field. only the courts can decide which
    contract wins in the case where an employee of Big Company publishes a
    patch which uses Big Company's intellectual property. the NPL/MPL try to
    cover this with the patent clauses -- but watch out, there's now even big
    business laws governing trade secrets intended to deal with corporate
    espionage (fortunately the laws seem difficult to enact, 'cause they're
    real ugly... see one of the CACM issues from this summer).

    there's grey areas. maybe it's changed recently -- but in the past the
    FSF itself recognized these grey areas by requiring you to explicitly
    register a signed document with them before they could accept your
    patches.

    you can make the grey a little less grey by explicitly granting rights to
    your own creations.

    -dean


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