back to article Facebook, Google, IBM, Red Hat give GPL code scofflaws 60 days to behave – or else

Facebook, Google, IBM, and Red Hat on Monday will give free-software license violators two months to mend their ways before going nuclear. The tech giants, which release a fair amount of GNU-GPL-licensed source code, have committed to extend the GPLv3's 60-day "cure period" to license compliance errors under GPLv2 and LGPLv2.1 …

  1. Gordan

    "The VMware case happens to be a sore spot in the open source community, because some consider the lawsuit counter-productive."

    That seemed like it was very much a case of going in half-cocked and under-prepared. Yet it's this guy that gets all the flack despite being the competent one: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/10/18/linux_kernel_community_enforcement_statement/

    1. #define INFINITY -1

      If you are referring to McHardy you'll need to do some more homework. He is far from 'the competent one' - more like a vampire.

      1. sabroni Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        re: He is far from 'the competent one' - more like a vampire.

        Ah, the name calling part of the homework. Well I'm convinced!!

      2. Gordan

        GPL enforcement is sufficiently rare that it is welcome, even from a vampire.

  2. Oh Homer
    Linux

    Translation please

    Maybe it's the flu, but I've read that article three times and I still don't have a clue what it's on about.

    So GPL violators won't be sued quite so quickly? Or they won't be sued at all, but instead will be invited for tea and biscuits and a nice cosy chat? Or it's going to be a bit like the TVL, who endlessly send "Dear Legal Occupier" love letters but then never actually get around to doing any humping?

    Meanwhile, I missed this linked article the first time around:

    Essentially, the SFLC, which holds a trademark on "Software Freedom Law Center", is upset the SFC holds a trademark on "Software Freedom Conservancy".
    OK, that's it. I'm done.

    1. Bruce Perens

      Re: Translation please

      I'm sitting down to write a blog page explaining this in more detail. It will be on perens.com when I'm done.

      1. Oh Homer
        Pint

        Re: Translation please

        Wow! I call for assistance and magically Bruce Perens appears.

        Karma suggests I should now write my letter to Santa and/or buy a lottery ticket.

        Favourite quote:

        Thus, it is ironic that when originally presented with the opportunity to apply the GPL 3 to Linux, Linus Torvalds and the Kernel team were quite hostile about it, while the kernel team’s recent announcement attributes the principles they have adopted to the text in GPL 3. Perhaps they’ve learned something since those hostile moments.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Translation please

      I think it translates as:

      "...scofflaws 60 days to behave – or else"

      to

      "....scofflaws 60 days to behave – or else we'll give you another 60 days!"

      1. Warm Braw Silver badge

        Re: Translation please

        I think it means you get incur the ire of Red Hat, Facebook, Google or IBM (the great Redface Bloogle?), who probably weren't going to come after you anyway, you get an extra 60 days to frame their lawyer's letter.

        For the people who are going to come after you, possibly in the pursuit of compensation rather than compliance, it doesn't really mean a lot. Damn those German submarines...

    3. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: Translation please

      Software copyright is one thing, a business trademark is another. It's how you're recognised and your reputation, and it's mostly up to you to defend your right to be known by it - by chasing others off it. That includes deliberate fakes, coincidental duplications, and people who think your name is clever and so make up a similar one, and it includes near exact duplicates and distant suggestions - but in the latter case, the chasing off may only consist of a lawyer's letter in harsh language but no further enforcement action.

      I think the incident of the Software Freedom Law Center goes further, into officially acknowledged or registered trademarks. I'm not a lawyer but I think a "registered trademark" is presumed to be legitimate until it isn't, so if someone applies to registers a trademark that resembles yours, then you'd better speak up.

      To me, "Software Freedom Law Center" sounds generic anyway. They should maybe have put an "Acme" in there somewhere. Or, I dunno, "Spartacus". Something that just distinguishes it from alternatives.

    4. Raumkraut

      Re: Translation please

      Maybe it's the flu, but I've read that article three times and I still don't have a clue what it's on about.

      I believe that the crux of the matter is, once a GPL infringement has been discovered, how long does the infringer have to rectify their mistake and come back into compliance, before they lose any right to redistribute to the software?

      Under the GPLv3 they have 60 days. The granted rights then can be regained if they do eventually come into compliance.

      Under the GPLv2 there is no grace period at all. Further, the license does not specify any way for an erstwhile infringer to regain those granted rights.

  3. Lars Silver badge
    Linux

    In here somewhere

    I think we have to spot two types of "defenders of the GPL". On one side you have the lawyers who are very keen on defending because the more they defend the more money they make. (There is no "trickle down" effect here either regarding the developers.). Then on the other side there are perhaps those whose motives have less to do with making money and are thus less keen on litigating. I would defend those defenders more.

    I think "hostile" is a rather hostile word to use. Such a long time since the GPL3 was written so I cannot remember all the arguments for or against it except I believe there was a rather hostile and inflated ego behind the pen. It would not surprise me if there was some questions regarding the possibility to suddenly switch from GPL2 to GPL3 regarding Linux. Nor would it surprise me if that lot of developers had a bad feeling of being dragged into more and more "litigations" losing time and energy in that process. But again perhaps I am wrong.

    At one of the companies I worked for as a programmer my boss asked me to join him in court as an expert against a teenage guy who had managed to copy some game he should have payed for. I refused telling him I get speechless confronted with the professional shit speakers. To my self I told I don't give a shit and I have more important things to do.

    I once had a vacuum cleaner running Linux, did they comply or not, I do not know, but I did think of it after all.

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