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The Courts Government GNU is Not Unix News

German Court Convicts Skype For Breaching GPL 309

Posted by kdawson
from the means-what-it-says dept.
terber writes "A German court has once again upheld the GPLv2 and convicted Skype (based in Luxembourg) of violating the GPL by selling the Linux-based VoIP phone 'SMCWSKP 100' without proper source code access. (Original is in German, link is a Google translation.) Skype later added a flyer to the phones' packaging giving a URL where the sources could be obtained; but the court found this insufficient and in breach of GPL section 3. The plaintiff was once again Netfilter developer Harald Welte, who runs gpl-violations.org. The decision is available in German at www.ifross.de (Google translation here)."
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German Court Convicts Skype For Breaching GPL

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  • Damn (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @02:53PM (#19973507)
    What a bunch of GPL Nazis.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by MontyApollo (849862)
      >>What a bunch of GPL Nazis.

      Sorry, I laughed.
    • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @03:39PM (#19974155)
      My German is a bit rusty, but I'm pretty sure that "Server Error" is not a very good translation.
    • It's not a conviction unless a contract/license violation is considered a crime in Germany. They simply lost the civil case and were found in violation. That's pretty much it. Hopefully we'll see more lawsuits against other companies such as TiVO.

      Hopefully there's some monetary reward in this and that it will teach Skype and others a big lesson.
      • by s_p_oneil (795792)
        Yes, and that lesson is to use BSD.
  • Correct terminology (Score:5, Informative)

    by Akaihiryuu (786040) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @02:55PM (#19973519)
    Noone would be convicted of "breaching the GPL". The GPL is not an EULA. If you violate the terms of the GPL, you are (re)distributing without a license permitting you to do so (since the GPL, which you violated, is the only thing that gives you permission to do so), which is a copyright violation, not a GPL violation. I wish articles would get the specifics right.
    • by ikegami (793066) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @02:59PM (#19973577)
      You said the GPL was violated in a post trying to explain why it's Copyright and not the GPL that was violated.
      • by Akaihiryuu (786040) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @03:06PM (#19973665)
        You *can* violate the terms of the GPL, if you do you lose your rights to distribute (since it is what gives you the rights). However you would not be convicted of doing so. Instead, you would be convicted of distributing without a license in violation of copyright (since you had no license to distribute). It's a technicality I know, but I wish more people would understand the specifics.
        • by WindBourne (631190) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @03:29PM (#19974039) Journal
          Are you talking about American courts or German Courts. Because each country interprets the GPL, and copyrights, in very different fashion. Heck, in china, they ignore you until for some minor reason, you piss them off. Then you are shot. I think that is one of the VERY few countries that do that (for that reason).
        • by sumdumass (711423)
          Well, I don't read German so which is true here, Where they convicted of violating copyright or held to be in violation of a contract? If they accepted the GPL and failed to fulfill it's requirement's I would assume it would be the later.
        • You *can* violate the terms of the GPL, if you do you lose your rights to distribute (since it is what gives you the rights).

          This may be true (under paragraph 4 of the GPLv2), though its questionable what legal effect it has (since the GPLv2 is an open offer that you receive anew every time you receive software distributed under the license, and which you may accept, under its express terms, simply by redistributing the software.)

          However you would not be convicted of doing so. Instead, you would be convicte

      • by Eivind (15695)
        True. The GPL was not followed. But here's the thing: It's not forbidden to ignore the GPL. Its not law, afterall.

        It's not that complicated.

        Normally, Copyrigth law says that you aren't allowed redistributing or copying creative works that someone else created.

        The GPL says, in effect: "We give you permission to do those things anyway, if you follow these rules ...."

        So, if you break those rules, you *don't* have permission, which means if you still copy, you're in violation of copyrigth law.

        This is why the GP
    • by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @03:03PM (#19973637)

      Noone would be convicted of "breaching the GPL". The GPL is not an EULA. If you violate the terms of the GPL, you are (re)distributing without a license permitting you to do so (since the GPL, which you violated, is the only thing that gives you permission to do so), which is a copyright violation, not a GPL violation. I wish articles would get the specifics right.

      You win today's "Pedant of the day award." Look for your certificate in the mail.

      • by blhack (921171) * on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @03:09PM (#19973737)
        you get runner up for using the word "pedant".

        but you don't get a certificate. We're kindof assholes like that.
      • by timster (32400) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @03:14PM (#19973807)
        This is far from pedantry. Using terms suggesting that someone would be convicted or held liable for a "GPL violation" suggests that a court must uphold the GPL as valid for such a lawsuit to be successful. This makes people believe (erroneously) that the GPL is a questionable document that needs to be tested in court.

        On the contrary, a standard legal action against someone not in compliance with the terms of the GPL would be a simple copyright infringement case; the onus is on the defendant to show that they had a valid license (and met its terms).
        • by seebs (15766)
          I think licensing is more complicated than that. If they point out that you were giving the software away, and let people copy it, then you do have to establish that you're allowed to impose conditions like this -- and a court could conceivably disagree.
          • '' I think licensing is more complicated than that. If they point out that you were giving the software away, and let people copy it, then you do have to establish that you're allowed to impose conditions like this -- and a court could conceivably disagree. ''

            Now that is stupid. The GPL doesn't say: "1. You can copy this code any way you like. 2. There are the following conditions..." It says "You may distribute copies of the code along with a copy of the GPL etc. etc. ". GPL'd software is _not_ given away.
            • by seebs (15766)
              Courts have, in the past, read things like that, and concluded that they were entirely fictitious, and that there was no real contract or agreement, and that something was in fact being given away.

              I'm not saying that will happen to the GPL, but it's happened to other agreements or attempts to impose terms in the past.
        • by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatman@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @03:57PM (#19974445) Homepage Journal

          Using terms suggesting that someone would be convicted or held liable for a "GPL violation" suggests that a court must uphold the GPL as valid for such a lawsuit to be successful.

          The court must "test" the GPL if the defendant claims that he accepted the terms. At that point the judge will attempt to decide whether the defendant did indeed keep up his half of the bargain, potentially restricting the power of the GPL agreement where local laws say otherwise.

          This makes people believe (erroneously) that the GPL is a questionable document that needs to be tested in court.

          The GPL is a fairly air-tight design, but there's nothing erroneous about its need for court testing. A judge can (and will!) strike various parts of the agreement if he finds them to be in conflict with either the law or the intent of the agreement. As a result, it's difficult to legally "prove" that a given type of agreement will hold up in court unless either that same agreement or a similar agreement is tested. The GPL has had sufficient legal testing to show that it will hold up in court.

          If I'm not mistaken, your confusion stems from section 5 of the GPL, which explicitly provides for the fact that no proof of an agreement takes place. According to the GPL, you don't have to accept it to use the software. It falls back on standard copyright law in that case. Thus when an infringer is identified, he faces a double-edged sword. Does he claim that he did not accept the GPL, in which case he's on the hook for copyright infringement? Or does he claim that he did indeed accept the terms of the GPL, in which case he's on the hook for (I'll phrase this carefully just to annoy the "contract vs. license" folks out there :P) "breach of the terms and conditions of the contract"?

          The GPL is an interesting experiment in using a legal loophole as the foundation for a distribution agreement. This case provides further evidence that the concept works as well in practice as it does in legal theory.
          • by Spazmania (174582)
            A judge can (and will!) strike various parts of the agreement if he finds them to be in conflict with either the law or the intent of the agreement.

            No, he won't. The GPL deliberately omits the severability clause commonly found in contracts. This means that if any part of it is contrary to local law, the entire thing is void in that jurisdiction.

            What a judge can do is clarify the contract. "I interpret this clause to mean X, not Y."
      • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @03:17PM (#19973847)

        Hey, we're having a legal discussion here -- pedantry is necessary!

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Linker3000 (626634)
          No, if you are having a legal discussion, stupidly large fees are usually necessary.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gad_zuki! (70830)
      >which is a copyright violation

      Right, we need to protect copyright at all costs! Maybe insert some DRM to protect us from evil capitalists!!

      I wonder how many slashdotters would agree that the idea to limit copyright to 12 years or so means that linux will be put in the public domain for anyone to do whatever they want, and to hell with the gpl.

      Not trying to troll, but its funny to see people quote copyright law line and verse when it serves them.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cpt kangarooski (3773)
        It sounds fine to me (though 12 years is a bit long for software -- it might be better to have a shorter term for it, and a longer term for other kinds of works). Linux is not that important in the grand scheme of things. If getting sane copyright laws meant that people could ignore the GPL for a 12 year old version of Linux (but not for any changes that had been introduced since then) I would very happy. Incidentally, how many people do you think are interested in running or making closed forks from Linux
    • Noone would be convicted of "breaching the GPL". The GPL is not an EULA. If you violate the terms of the GPL, you are (re)distributing without a license permitting you to do so (since the GPL, which you violated, is the only thing that gives you permission to do so), which is a copyright violation, not a GPL violation.

      This is a popular open-source myth, but doesn't seem true under the little US case law applying the GPL (consider Progress Software v. MySQL AB), or under the express terms of the GPLv2 (which

  • Court upholding GPL - Good!
    Conviction for copyright violation - Bad!

    What's a loyal drone to believe anymore??
    • by lixee (863589)
      It's about info wanting to be free, you nimrod. Had Skype released the code, they wouldn't have been sued in the first place.

    • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @03:14PM (#19973797)

      The GPL is permissive, and thus turns the usual function of copyright on it's head.

      In other words, usually when people violate copyright it's through an act that increases the spread of the information, and prosecuting them for it would restict that spread. In contrast, when people violate copyright by failing to abide by the GPL, they themselves are restricting the spread of the information and prosecuting them restores it.

      If one (e.g., a "loyal drone") consistently believes that spreading information is good and restricting it is bad, there is no contradiction.

      • by LWATCDR (28044)
        Funny but that is a great case of newspeak.
        GPL is permissive... But it prevents you from distributing something with out making the source available...
        I happen to like GPL V2 but this statement is just not as slanted as the term Digital Rights Management.
        You find it permissive because it gives you permission to do something you want while preventing someone else from doing what they want.
        What I don't get is why is putting the source on the internet not good enough?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Hatta (162192)
          GPL is permissive... But it prevents you from distributing something with out making the source available...

          The GPL is permissive the same way the 13th amendment is permissive. Both prevent you from taking away the rights of others.

          What I don't get is why is putting the source on the internet not good enough?

          Not everyone has access to the internet. Had they included a written offer to send the source code by post for a reasonable shipping charge they'd probably have been fine.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by FooBarWidget (556006)
            "The GPL is permissive the same way the 13th amendment is permissive. Both prevent you from taking away the rights of others."

            No, because under copyright law, you never had that right in the first place. The GPL gives you *more* rights than you had, it just doesn't give you the right to not give the same rights to others.
    • The hardcore would question the validity of copyright entirely. If there were no copyright and patent laws, GPL wouldn't be so necessary as code would be leaked/distributed/re-used all the time, open source or not. Though would people make less innovative software if this happend? Or would all the code-reuse allow for innovation to flourish as it made more permutations of existing software technologies possible?
      • While I agree that freer code would allow more innovation, I still believe profit-motive drives innovation.

        Say what you will about the negatives of vendor lock-in (an argument with merit), cool gadgets mean big bucks. Take away profit, and where do iPhones come from?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dada21 (163177)
        I don't believe that copyright drives innovation -- innovation usually means providing a new direction or addition to a previous product that someone else likely designed, which was "innovated" from a previous product that another designed. New ideas based on old ideas, etc.

        What drives innovation is a desire to capture a particular market share for a demand, in effect providing a new supply stream for an existing demand, or hoping to create demand due to a new supply stream for a new product or feature.

        In
        • by Quila (201335)
          Copyright merely restricts competition from doing better than the originator of that particular product or service, and does the market a disservice by reducing the opportunity for other producers to do something one step better.

          It doesn't restrict the others from doing better as long as they write their own stuff. It allows the originator to restrict them from taking his work and passing it off as their own long enough for the originator to make a profit. This worked well way back when the monopoly grante

    • Here's what you have to believe to match ~70% of /.ers:

      1. Copyright in general is a good thing, but has too long of a term and his horribly misused today.
      2. Anyone who does anything whatsoever that would be necessary to catch and convict someone violating copyright over P2P is a horrible totalitarian Nazi.
      3. Copyright really only benefits the record companies, who are parasites.
      4. It's possible to make money as a musician without copyright or the evil record companies, and is therefore possible today. Ignor
  • The actual problem is that they did not include the text of the GPL with the phone. The summary here in Slashdot didn't mention that, and had me wondering what the problem with the provided URL was.
  • The story's link to the translated version of the decision doesn't work - probably because Google is only translating the <frameset> document, not the inner frames.

    This link should work [google.com], though

  • Source Code (Score:5, Informative)

    by jshriverWVU (810740) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @03:31PM (#19974065)
    If anyone is looking for the source code it's here [smc.com]

    Can also check out this link for more info here [wifiphone24.com]

  • by fishthegeek (943099) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @03:39PM (#19974163) Journal

    the case that also the program at the same place is offered for the Download: "If distribution OF executable or object code is larva by off ring ACCESS ton of CoPy from A designated place, then off ring equivalent ACCESS ton of CoPy the SOURCE code from the same place COUNTs as distribution OF the SOURCE code, even though third parties of acres emergency compelled tons of CoPy the SOURCE along with the object code." In all other cases of the software selling it is not sufficient to make the SOURCE code available only on-line one.


    It's a wonder why Microsoft hates the GPL, Balmer is afraid of GRUB(s)
  • The interesting part (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jeti (105266) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @03:46PM (#19974259) Homepage
    After a previous conviction, a sheet was included
    with the phone that contained URLs to the GPL-
    license and to the source code . The articles do
    not make any statement on whether the source code
    contained all modifications, but they do not claim
    otherwise.

    The court decided that providing only an URL to the
    license was not enough and that the whole license
    should have been included in printed form.

    So far, so good. Now the interesting part is that
    according to the judge, providing a link to the
    source code is only acceptable for software that
    is provided on the internet. For software that comes
    preinstalled, the source must also be delivered with
    the device.

    This decision seems extremely strange to me. It is
    not what I read in the GPL v2. Here is the relevant
    part:

    3. You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on it,
    under Section 2) in object code or executable form under the terms of
    Sections 1 and 2 above provided that you also do one of the
    following:

            a) ...
            b) Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three
    years, to give any third party, for a charge no more than your cost
    of physically performing source distribution, a complete
    machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code, to be
    distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium
    customarily used for software interchange; or,
            c) ...
    • by Todd Knarr (15451) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @04:18PM (#19974747) Homepage

      I think the judge looked at the paragraph a bit further on in that section where it talks about providing access to the source as a download from a server, and noted that that case is explicitly allowed only when the software itself is also distributed as a download. That led him to the conclusion that clause B that you quote, when it talks of "medium customarily used for software interchange", means exactly what it says: an actual copy on some storage medium, logic being that if it allowed downloads from servers then it wouldn't have been neccesary later to explicitly allow downloads from servers. Combine that with failing to include the license text when the license says plainly in section 1 that you must include a copy of it's text and the judge's decision doesn't seem unreasonable.

      And I know the issue of downloads of source has been discussed, and IIRC the FSF's position is that it's not acceptable on it's own. Network servers can be taken down, files on them can be removed, some recipients may not have Internet access but none of those cases lifts the obligation to provide source code. The only way a distributor can guarantee he'll always be able to meet that obligation is to be prepared to provide source on a physical medium. The case of providing downloadable source for downloadable software was actually viewed as falling under 3a, not 3b, that is source code being provided along with the software itself, which makes a world of difference in the distributor's obligations.

      • by jeti (105266)
        Well - my personal interpretation would be that providing
        a download link would be ok, but that you would be obliged
        to keep it valid over the next three years. It would be a
        violation if the link became invalid within those three
        years, but until then, no violation has occured.

        If this reasoning is not acceptable, you could still avoid
        to ship the code with the product, if you provide a note
        that you will ship it upon request. But isn't that just
        what you're doing with the URL? It's just another form of
        contact add
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by obeythefist (719316)
      Kicking a company in the nuts for violating the GPL is well and good, but when they are actively trying to make amends, isn't it bad for the FOSS community and PR in general to keep on kicking anyway?

      Using the same mechanism as the RIAA to uphold freedom is good.
      Using the same sore-winner attitude as the RIAA and punishing people for the heck of it is bad.
  • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @03:51PM (#19974341) Homepage
    Zwar wurde dem Gerät später ein Beiblatt beigelegt, das auf die verwendete GPL-Software verwies und eine URL enthielt, wo die Quelltexte abrufbar sind - doch dies genügte dem Gericht im vorliegenden Fall nicht. Diese Möglichkeit sehe die GPL nur für Software vor, die über das Internet geliefert wird.

    Rough translation (but better than google):
    "Later a note was included with the device, which said it used GPL software and a URL where the source code is available - but this was not enough for the court. The GPL only permits this for software that is delivered over the Internet."

    Doesn't that get covered by 6 b) 2):
    "6. Conveying Non-Source Forms.

    You may convey a covered work in object code form under the terms of sections 4 and 5, provided that you also convey the machine-readable Corresponding Source under the terms of this License, in one of these ways:
    (...)
    b) Convey the object code in, or embodied in, a physical product (including a physical distribution medium), accompanied by a written offer, valid for at least three years and valid for as long as you offer spare parts or customer support for that product model, to give anyone who possesses the object code either (...) or (2) access to copy the Corresponding Source from a network server at no charge."

    Or maybe it didn't come as a permanent offer, in which case they might be talking about 6 d):
    "d) Convey the object code by offering access from a designated place (gratis or for a charge), and offer equivalent access to the Corresponding Source in the same way through the same place at no further charge. (...)"
  • If Microsoft will applaud the GPL developers for exercising their intellectual property rights...

    When you think about it, if Skype had misappropriated WinCE, they'd be looking at a lot more damage than just releasing their source code...

  • No conviction (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hellfire (86129) <deviladvNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @04:08PM (#19974615) Homepage
    Okay, it is Germany, and I'm going to use the definitions based under American law, but I'm 99% sure the same holds true in Germany.

    A conviction is for criminal court. Copywrite law falls under civil law. No one from Skype is going to jail and no one is going to pay a huge fine to the government. However, the organization that won this case could potentially get a tidy sum.

    Let's just pile onto the inaccuracies of the summary for this article. Let's hear it for inflamatory, add-pumping summaries!
    • quoting eben moglen

      ...I decided that that instruction meant that I could begin every telephone conversation with a violator of the GPL with magic words: We don't want money. When I spoke those words, life got simpler. The next thing I said was, We don't want publicity. The third thing I said was, We want compliance. We won't settle for anything less than compliance, and that's all we want.

      (from the keynote address of the plone conference 2006 available here : http://www.geof.net/research/2006/moglen-notes [geof.net] )

  • Hooray for Harald! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by PingXao (153057)
    This guy is waging a one-man show against GPL violators. Oh, the EFF is involved to some extent, but their effort is not Harald's. Harald, by the way, is the lead on the ipfilters project, something many /.'ers have probably heard of.

    He is swamped with submissions from folks claiming this company or that is in violation of the GPL. I submitted one myself about a year and a half ago. Nothing ever came of it. Not because the company is innocent, but because Harald has very few resources to go after the
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Microlith (54737)
      Copyrights do not expire due to lack of enforcement, only trademarks.

      The case could easily be made that the violation was deliberately and intentionally obscured to make discovery difficult, and then the penalties could be even greater.
    • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @06:13PM (#19976257) Homepage
      At some point there will be a case where an evildoer will use the defense that since the copyright holder didn't pursue company X 5 years ago they should be prevented from trying to do it now. And poof! The copyright will vanish or be declared null and void and with it the GPL distribution license that goes along with it.

      Wow, did you drink some SCO FUD? Copyrights are never nullified because of lack of enforcement, and I dare you to find an example. Not enforcing them may limit your ability to collect damages, but at any time you can send an injunction to make them stop.

      What's needed is enforcement of copyright law:
      506. Criminal offenses
      (a) Criminal Infringement.
      (1) In general. Any person who willfully infringes a copyright shall be punished as provided under section 2319 of title 18, if the infringement was committed
      (A) for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain;

      2319. Criminal infringement of a copyright
      (a) Any person who violates section 506 (a) (relating to criminal offenses) of title 17 shall be punished as provided in subsections (b), (c), and (d) and such penalties shall be in addition to any other provisions of title 17 or any other law.
      (b) Any person who commits an offense under section 506 (a)(1)(A) of title 17
      (1) shall be imprisoned not more than 5 years, or fined in the amount set forth in this title, or both, if the offense consists of the reproduction or distribution, including by electronic means, during any 180-day period, of at least 10 copies or phonorecords, of 1 or more copyrighted works, which have a total retail value of more than $2,500;
      (2) shall be imprisoned not more than 10 years, or fined in the amount set forth in this title, or both, if the offense is a second or subsequent offense under paragraph (1); and
      (3) shall be imprisoned not more than 1 year, or fined in the amount set forth in this title, or both, in any other case.

      If you're using a substantial amount of GPL'd code beyond the rouge developer taking code, that should be enough to know you're willfully infringing. Being a for-profit company should be enough to prove "for commercial advantage". At which point they should be strung up on criminal charges and sent to jail like with SOX regulations. That's how it should be, note there's no minimum amount to make (3) go into effect and send them away for a year, even at a $0 "retail value" as long as you can prove *they* earned money on it.
  • Hrm. I just had an interesting thought which applies here but I'm sure folks have covered already. Somewhere.

    So, you can copyright source code, no problem. I know there is a bit of confusion about the meaning of the term "derivative work" and here's an example.

    Let's say I have a trivial program, say, "Hello World" or something like that. What exactly is the copyrighted bit here? Is it the source - that is, the exact language representation used - say, C++ or Pascal or Assembly? Or is it the instructions

    • by Todd Knarr (15451)

      Ask yourself this. Suppose you wrote a book. Suppose I go and translate it into another language (without a license from you) and begin selling copies. Suppose I record someone reading it onto audio tape and begin selling copies. Suppose I run it through a scanner and turn the scanned images into a PDF and begin selling it. What does copyright law hold on those scenarios? Answer that and you've answered your questions.

      Short form, copyright applies to the source code. That copyright carries over into any de

      • by ThosLives (686517)

        The question is, do I deserve compensation for translating the work into a foreign language when I didn't do that translation?

        The way I see it, the translator created a new actual work by changing the language. Sure it has the same story or whatever as the original, but the value that guy added is the translation, not the idea.

        That's why I said the things of value are the creation of new ideas, the means to distribute them, and the ability to use them. The ideas themselves are not very valuable, so copyin

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DragonWriter (970822)

      So, you can copyright source code, no problem. I know there is a bit of confusion about the meaning of the term "derivative work" and here's an example.

      Let's say I have a trivial program, say, "Hello World" or something like that. What exactly is the copyrighted bit here? Is it the source - that is, the exact language representation used - say, C++ or Pascal or Assembly?

      Certainly.

      Or is it the instructions generated by that source?

      Provided that you (the copyright holder) generate them (by running the compil

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Seriously, looking at http://gpl-violations.org/support.html [gpl-violations.org] everyone can see that Harald is asking for help in maintaining the site - and the site badly needs it.

    So, instead of talking about the GPL on /. why not help running gpl-violations.org?
  • by angel'o'sphere (80593) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @06:24PM (#19976409) Homepage Journal
    I started reading the threats but stopped after the first few *5* rated articles ;D

    What me rely wonders is this wording A German court has once again upheld the GPLv2 .

    No! A german court did not upheld the GPL. No court is interested in the GPL. the court honoured copyright law. The authors of the code in question are the copyright owners. The company distributing the code is not a copyright owner. The license is completely irrelevant.

    Notpicking mode on:
    A license could be void if it contained illegal terms, like: you agree to hand over your first born son, and his first born son and also his up to the 17th generation to follow to (insert your name here) ...
    In this case the license would be void. Not copyright! You still had no right whatsoever to distribute the code / IP of the legal owners.

    The court did not uphold the GPL. It only decided that Skype violated the GPL and in doing so violated copyright law If you violate a BSD or MIT license you violate copyright law as well.

    To uphold a license you would need to challenge the legal-ness of the license. So instead of suing Skype for breaking copyright law you would need to sue the author over using an illegal license. However there is no real applicable law here. You could construct a case probably by having a license that also encourages murder and rape ... like: by using this software you also a accept that the nazis did not committed a holocaust. In germany claiming in public that "the nazis did not commit the holocaust" is a legal offense. So having a license including legal offenses you had a license that would be void or tangible. But still you could not distribute the code of the copyright holder ... because your act of distribution has nothing to do with the license but only with copyright.

    angel'o'sphere
  • by voltheir (1087207) on Tuesday July 24, 2007 @07:54PM (#19977497)
    RTFM
    They convicted SMC, who makes a Skype phone, of the GPL violation because they didn't include the source code with the phone. NOT skype

    how can every slashdot mod and user be completely wrong?

"Only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core." -- Hannah Arendt.

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