article on GPLv3, Linux kernel, and Devices Rigged to Malfunction

Alex Hudson home at
Tue Oct 24 12:14:12 UTC 2006

On Tue, 2006-10-24 at 21:55 +1000, Ben Finney wrote:
> The terms of the GPL (any version) don't speak to "concern[...] with
> post-violation compliance" or not. That's entirely up to the copyright
> holder (or whoever is doing the enforcement).

Actually, that's not right.

One of the most important steps forward in the GPLv3 is the new rule of
limitation - as a copyright holder, I cannot terminate the GPLv3 due to
violation of terms if that occurred more than two months ago and the
violator has since come into compliance. 

The opens up a new, legally sound, route out of violation: people like
Eben Moglen can go to violators and say, "If you come into compliance,
you know that within two months your legal liability in this area is
gone - the slate is wiped clean". The FSF, nor anyone else, can go back
on an agreement they make and attempt to sue a violator outside that

Going back to my original point, I don't think anyone can sensibly argue
that the requirement to publicise a shared secret code/key is not a term
primarily concerned with post-violation compliance.  I don't think it's
a big assumption to say the number of people designing secret systems
that they know are going to be publicised has to be pretty small
compared with the number of people who would have to later open a closed



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