(C) yyyy Joerg Schilling (was: Re: your mail) (fwd)

kim2 at bruning.demon.nl kim2 at bruning.demon.nl
Fri Jan 25 21:30:31 UTC 2002

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 19:03:27 +0100 (CET)
From: kim2 at bruning.demon.nl
To: Joerg Schilling <schilling at fokus.gmd.de>
Subject: (C) yyyy Joerg Schilling  (was: Re: your mail)


I'm going to assume here that you have claimed your authorship rights and
placed licence statements as reccomended in the GPL. If you didn't, you
might be up a creek without a paddle. If you did, you have a very strong
legal position.  At least, that's what I gather from reading all the
documentation on this. The most important thing to have is the line

(c) 2002, by Joerg Shilling , this code is licenced under the GNU Public
Licence version 2 or at your option ...


= Executive Summary:

You see the (c)? That's *your* legal protection against people stealing
your code. The GPL only grants people extra rights, which they wouldn't
have if only the (c) was there.

These people don't want to comply with the GPL? That's fine. That's their
option. They do *not* have any options on complying with the (c). The GPL
does not apply here, as they did not agree with it. You can only obtain
your right under the (c). Since they are stealing and admitting it, your
legal position appears very strong indeed. Ask your lawyer for advice.

= End Of Summary

On Fri, 25 Jan 2002, Joerg Schilling wrote:

> Which brings us back to german Copyright or better "Authorship Right"
> basic and shows that you cannot enforce the arrangements from GPL itself.

Well, the GPL is not a magical silver bullet you know. All it does is
allow people who want to play fair to use your software.

People who don't play fair simply don't get to use it. Or well, hardly
anyway. They say they don't want to obey the GPL, right? Well, they don't
have to. Nobody has to do anything with the GPL. You don't believe me?
Well, ask that lawyer of yours!

So don't expect people to release their source to you if they don't want
to. That's not what the GPL is for. :-)

Well... sort of. Let's go there in a minute.

First lets start with their infringement. If they don't want to play the
GPL game, that's their choice.  Not a problem. But anytime they distribute
your code, they are in infringement of your Authors rights. Authors rights
laws vary a bit from country to country... I live just west from you in
l'il .nl :-). Anyway.  The GPL is a licence, not a contract. They don't
want to use the licence, fine. They still need to comply with german
authors rights.

So just forget about the GPL here. They're breaking the law, and they're
admitting it. Idiots! Go sic the lawyers on them! They will end up
destroying every single copy and modified copy of your code, and paying a
nice hefty fine to you. Some GPL programmes might be argued to have
economic values of just about anything, damages might be an interesting
subject. Sue them for damages! Do you have co-authors or co-contributors?
Oh gosh, they get to sue too!

Sue them, sue them some more, and if they still exist after that, sue them
into oblivion. They have no chance. Oh yeah, and breaking the law is bad
for peoples reputation too.

Now what's this about sharing source and all that, that the GPL is on
about? Well, that's for people who actually agree to abide by the licence.
Everyone who abides by the GPL licence gets to share code among each
other. People who don't abide by the GPL licence still get to look at the
code, but they may not modify it or copy it, just like regular copyrighted
code. They didn't agree with the licence, remember?

As you've noticed, some people still try, and then they find out that
there is still the law to deal with.


Now go and talk with the FSF Europes excellent German Lawyers (did I
mention they were German Lawyers? They're German Lawyers!). You will
probably have to hire them yourself, but you will also probably win rather

Your current lawyer also seems pretty competent, but even really competent
people can mix things up from time to time. Personally, I think you've
managed to mix up your own lawyer by yourself. Even the most competent
people will stray if you point them down the wrong path to begin with!

Your lawyer correctly points out that nothing in the entire world can get
that company to give you their modifications if they really don't want to
give them to you. The minute they try to sell those modifications to
anyone else *then* they might have to give modifications to you too. I
said *might*. They don't have to. They can do whatever they like instead.
That's what the laws of physics say they can do.

Now at some point you can then get some kind of author rights infringement
thing brought against them. _Then_ they'll have to _pay_ . The more they
did whatever they liked, the more they'll have to pay.

That's what the laws of Germany do to them.

Have fun!

in the hope that this is useful
	read you soon,
		Kim "Sue! Sue! Sue!" Bruning

 The GPL as read by the bad guys:
  "Resistence is futile,
   your code base will be merged with ours,
   you have no chance to survive,
   make your time!"

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