Re: Apple and GPL
Where it could get interesting is if someone rolls out a "fair use" defence. If the FSF is suing, but all other contributors are not, or aren't expressing support for the case, that would make a "fair use" defence more potent.
It might not potent enough to win, but these things accrue. Eventually the FSF's share of the copyright ownership will decline to a point where they could not claim to be representing a majority view.
How Bad a Job is the FSF Doing Anyway?
There's some interesting things going on these days. For example, the source code for the GNURadio project - FSF owned - now simply states who owns the copyright, and what project the file is part of. There are spdx tags in the files, but nowhere in any of the source code files does it say in clear and unambigous terms what the license conditions are (an spdx tag is just a word, it's not a license statement).
There is a COPYING file in the repository, but is simply a stock copy of the GPL, there's nothing in it to say that it applies to any of the accompanying files. In fact at the bottom of the GPL text itself it tells you to put a piece of text in your source code files to indicate that the GPL license applies, which the GNURadio project has now stripped out from its source code. The project README.md does not say that GPL applies. The CONTRIBUTING.md file says that it is GPL, but the source code itself doesn't restate or confirm that.
So as far as I can tell if you download the head of GNURadio today, you get a whole load of source code that makes no effective and binding statement as to what license applies, and a gratis but apparently purposeless copy of the GPL.
Ok, so you and I know what spdx tags are for, but they do not amount to a clear and unambiguous assertion that every single English reading human being on the planet can be expected to understand. Put an spdx tag in front of a judge and they're going to say "this is just a word". AFAIK an spdx tag all by itself, in isolation, shorn of the GPL recommended text, has not been established in court as an adequate assertion of license conditions across all (or indeed, any) jurisdictions on the planet. I'd venture to suggest that your average judge would read the text at the bottom of the GPL, would see that said text is missing from the source code, and would draw some negative conclusions from that omission.
My overall point is that license assertion practises as weak and as lazy as this are asking for trouble somewhere down the line. That trouble may never actually turn up - it's hard to see anyone actually being motivated to exploit the weakness - but that's not something that should be relied upon. What's the point of assigning copyright to the FSF if they're then not going to police projects they own to make sure that the copyright and license is being asserted as fully as possible?