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Re: [ox-en] GPL Restrictive (and all the rest of those threads that this grew out of)


On Thursday 13 November 2003 20:24, Graham Seaman wrote:

That link refers specifically to software developed by government funded
research bodies, which is one of Microsofts targets.

The links wre in no way meant to be complete...just a sample so to pull one up 
and dismiss is sort of misses the point. Thts probably my point for not being 
clear about them in the first place.
I am interested is the bigger picture, the theme, rhetoric, ideology 
underlying all of this.

Also, this is very specifically a US problem which relates to the way US
public research bodies have handled software in the past (IIRC they are
not allowed to sell it at all; 

the Microsoft anti competeition line is being run around the world. Australia, 
Asai, Latin America and now in Africa - law in our era cannot be said to be a 
US problem simply  because of the Imperial tendency.

On Thursday 13 November 2003 23:23, Russell McOrmond wrote:
The GPL is a contract, and a reciprocal one at that 

(see below re Seth)

How can exercising the freedom to contract be contrary to the freedom
to contract? This whole line of thinking sounds entirely like nonsense to

I just think that all the anti-Copyleft stuff is out of place....

Yes this is out people in the FLOSS world view it. Fine. But the FLOSS world 
is not the only world. How do the neo-libs, neo-classicists see it? Why do 
they see it like that? What world does Law (capital L) belong to? Whose 
interests does it serve? What is it's purpose? Whose interests does it 

You are not exercising a pure contract in their terms as it is not based on 
market exchange, its excludes people from excluding others - this to them is 
what property is about.

On Friday 14 November 2003 03:09, Seth Johnson wrote:
The GPL is not a contract.  It requires no consent; this is in fact the key
principle of the GPL, that it is entirely an expression of recognized
exclusive rights accorded to authors under copyright. 

(see above re Russell)
My gut feeling is that a licence is a contract. I will seek the answer if 
anyone really cares. A licence is a form of contrcat in which you contract to 
allow someone the use of your property on speciffied terms -yeH??
But either way it is based upon property exchange and it is this that the US 
Constitution is alleged to seek to protect. Property in that sense requires 
the right to exclude others.

What Martin's asking is in effect whether such an approach founded on
copyright in itself can withstand an attack of the sort that says it
interferes with the right to contract.  

Yes I think in part this is what I am searching for. Recall the comments of 
the head of the US Patent office - the GPL etc is anti copyright in its 
effect no matter what it says it is as it destroys the ability to create 
exchangeable commodities.

I think that we need not worry.  I  think that Eben knows what he's up to, as 
does Richard.  

Seth I really like what you say here on this list but many people here and now 
you have this faith that worries me. Its almost evangelical what people say 
soemtimes. Trust him for he is a lawyer, or he has a good one. People seem to 
repeat the received wisdoms of the FLoss community. The ideology without any 
acceptance that the other ideologies are as deeply held and after all wield 
more power. How can you have such blind faith in 1. lawyers and 2. the 
promotors of an idea/ideology. 

Don't get me wrong of all the FLOSS lawyers/ideologues I admire RMS and EM the 
most. They are the closest to what I feel. But all (except i hoped this list 
and a few other comrades maybe) seem to think that capital is nice or could 
be nice if we just tinker with it and allow interest groups to have a say in 
our its run. Capital of today aint like that. We are repeating now the 
classic  Age of Capital and with it its the Robber Barons. The many US 
academics don't grasp that this is all happening as capital needs to find a 
new pasture to devour. They just say "oh it's in the public interest to leave 
it alone" - without grasping the way the machine operates.

Sure I agree that there are more ways than one that they can skin our cat but 
the worse case scenario is maybe that in some way FLOSS becomes public domain 
and then falls open to enclosure.

bright sunshiny day when someone finally dares to drag the GPL into court,
no matter what line of attack is brought against it.  If the charge is that
it interferes with the right to contract, then the issue will finally
become transparent: either the question of whether algorithms are
appropriate subject matter for copyright in the first place, or the
question of whether copyrights on algorithms are the kind of thing that can
trump supposed rights to write contracts that would cover algorithms.

Yes it would be a bright sunny day if someone who had the FLOSS or even a 
liberal view of the world sat on the US Supreme Court but have you ever 
checked the ideology of the Rehnquists, Scalia's etc etc. As a 
lawyer/advocate I was on many a team weher we looked forward to that bright 
sunny day, we had some, he had many where we walked away thinking - "but they 
got it all wrong". DO NOT PLACE FAITH IN THE LAW. It sounds like Lessig pre 
Eldred. (and he still hasn't learnt - he still says they got it all wrong 
doesn't he?). If you were right the US would not have invaded 
Iraq/Afghanistan etc etc beacuse it was contrary to the LAW, DRM would not be 
an issue and kids would not be in court for file sharing in Australia.

On Friday 14 November 2003 00:18, Benj. Mako Hill wrote:

yeh Ben I will look at your site propelry it looks good. But later its stil 
early in Africa (before 6am!!), I need to ride my bike and drink more coffee.

And finally... I am not trying to pull down the GPL system. I think Seth sees 
that. I am trying to undertsand where they (the neo-libs, nei-classicicists, 
the Empirists, the SCOs, the Msofts) are coming from in an ideology sense. I 
talk about FLOSS to some of my friends here (yanks who work for the US 
Embassy and USAID - please don't tell anyone i have these sorts of friends) 
and they look at me all goggle eyed and say "but people have to eat Martin, 
do you want us all to be like the poor farmers in Nampula?"
As they look at me in that condescending way I realise they just don't get it. 
It is not how they see the world, to them the world is a market and nothing 

Take care, tell me to shut up if I am boring anyone.


"Mind you, I am not asking you to bear witness to what you believe false, 
which would be a sin, but to testify falsely to what you believe true - which 
is a virtuous act because it compensates for lack of proof of something that 
certainly exists or happened."Bishop Otto to Baudolino


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