Re: Can a recipients rights under GNU GPL be revoked?
- Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2019 09:21:11 -0000 (UTC)
- From: Curt <curty@xxxxxxx>
- Subject: Re: Can a recipients rights under GNU GPL be revoked?
On 2019-01-28, rhkramer@xxxxxxxxx <rhkramer@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> Just another aside: One of my takes on lawyers is that they interpret laws
>> and take legal positions for various reasons, often to further their own
>> or their client's interests, and then are willing to fight the legal
>> battle that may ensue. A lawyer expressing an opinion does not make that
>> opinion correct / legal.
Earthshaking! (Editor's note: there exist lawyers who are not amoral shysters
and who even devote themselves to just causes.)
I guess the following is pertinent:
So if a developer is free to license their code in diametrically opposed ways
(simultaneously closed and open source), and it’s acknowledged that in the
absence of a Contributor License Agreement they retain the uncontested
ownership of any code they write, the situation becomes tricky. Does it not
follow that they have the right to walk back a promise to make their source
code open, if a scenario presents itself in which the author feels it’s no
Eric S. Raymond, one of the founders of the Open Source Initiative and author
of The Cathedral and the Bazaar believes they may have that right. In a post to
the Linux Kernel Mailing list, Eric specifically addresses the threat some
developers have made about attempting to pull their code from the kernel:
First, let me confirm that this threat has teeth. I researched the relevant
law when I was founding the Open Source Initiative. In the U.S. there is case
law confirming that reputational losses relating to conversion of the rights of
a contributor to a GPLed project are judicable in law. I do not know the case
law outside the U.S., but in countries observing the Berne Convention without
the U.S.’s opt-out of the “moral rights” clause, that clause probably gives the
objectors an even stronger case.
Anyway, it appears there's a new Linux CoC (providing for a "harassment-free
experience for everyone, regardless of age, body size, disability, ethnicity,
sex characteristics, gender identity and expression, level of experience,
education, socio-economic status, nationality, personal appearance, race,
religion, or sexual identity and orientation"), Linus is stepping aside to work
on his relational problems (with regrets for being a dyed-in-the-wool asshole
all these years), and, well, all hell has broken loose.
I'm uncertain how this all articulates into a coherent whole. Apparently the
worry (or threat?) is a disgruntled hacker (doubtless one of the old male
dinosaurs), ejected for violating the new LGBT-friendly CoC, might rescind the
license grant for his code (a prospect Raymond doesn't find judicially