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    SubjectRe: scsi target, likely GPL violation
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    This thread is certainly fascinating.  As someone who has enforced the
    GPL for over a decade, and who coordinates a coalition of Linux
    developers who do GPL enforcement, I am very concerned about any
    accusation of GPL violation, and I hope that this situation can be
    resolved reasonably and swiftly.

    While I usually encourage private discussion about GPL violations -- at
    least to start -- I've also often found it's nearly impossible to
    maintain perfect secrecy about alleged GPL violations; openness and
    public discussions are the standard manner of group communication in the
    Free Software community. I hope that Rising Tide Systems and its agents
    are cognizant of this nature of the Free Software community.
    Furthermore, now that the discussion is public anyway, I hope Rising
    Tide Systems and its agents will welcome it and avoid any further
    actions to squelch such discussion.

    I suggest, though, that perhaps one of the mailing lists that Harlad
    Welte runs for his GPL Violations Project (such as
    http://lists.gpl-violations.org/mailman/listinfo/legal/ ) might be a
    better forum for this thread, rather than the technical discussion
    mailing lists for Linux and the subsystems in question.

    Meanwhile, I don't have too much to comment on in detail on this thread
    publicly at this time, but I do have a few points below:

    Nicholas Bellinger wrote at 21:08 (EST) on Thursday:
    > A substantial fraction of the code of which we own the sole copyright
    > was certified by BlackDuck Software as early as in 2007.

    Often in my work enforcing the GPL, companies have unsuccessfully
    proposed a Blackduck review as a defense of copyright infringement. I
    don't think Blackduck's system does anything to determine whether or not
    something is a derivative work under copyright law and/or whether a
    violation of GPL has occurred.

    Indeed, I know of no algorithmic way to make such determinations, and
    I'm quite sure they're undecidable problems (in the computability theory
    sense). To my knowledge, Blackduck's proprietary tool is merely an
    scanning tool examining source code for copyright header information and
    to pattern-match against other codebases in Blackduck's private
    database. (Although, since Blackduck's software is proprietary,
    trade-secret software, it's impossible to know for sure what it actually
    does, but we can be sure it doesn't solve any problems that are known to
    be unsolvable.) Thus, citing a Blackduck certification is simply
    off-point in refuting an accusation of any form of copyright
    infringement. Blackduck's software might be able to tell you if you *have*
    plagiarized someone's source code that appears in their databases, but
    they can't possibly tell you that you haven't infringed any copyrights.
    I'm quite sure Blackduck doesn't give away certification on the latter
    point.

    > So..., Andy, please start behaving properly ... [you aren't] be[ing]
    > ... professional in ... communications about licensing compliance
    > matters,

    I don't think it's reasonable to chastise Andy for raising these
    questions. While I personally (and Conservancy as an organization)
    don't usually raise accusations of GPL violations publicly until other
    methods of private communication are attempted, I believe public
    discussion is an important component of GPL compliance. Thus, Andy's
    strategy of discussing it publicly early in the process -- while not my
    preferred strategy -- is still a reasonable one. His attempt to raise
    these serious and legitimate concerns and questions is in no way
    unprofessional, nor should it be squelched.
    --
    Bradley M. Kuhn, Executive Director, Software Freedom Conservancy


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