[Chicago] to lawer or not Was: something unrelated
carl at personnelware.com
Tue Jan 6 01:49:31 CET 2009
Ian Bicking wrote:
> Martin Maney wrote:
>> On Sun, Jan 04, 2009 at 07:25:24PM -0600, Ian Bicking wrote:
>>> Lawyers are bullshit.
>> Not half as bullshit as asking a bunch of non-lawyers for legal advice,
>> which I was trying to avoid saying in so many words. <wink>
>>> The ABSOLUTE WORST CASE is that the developers of Fabric will be
>>> annoyed that you are using their code in a closed source system, and
>>> they'll ask you to open your code or stop using Fabric. If you are a
>> Are you the copyright owner of Fabric? I truly have no idea. If you
>> aren't, this is, yes, in line with the usual outcome, but it's also
>> just so much hot air if you cannot speak for them.
> It's in line with all past disputes about GPL violations. I don't know
> of any exceptions, I pay attention to such cases, and there really
> aren't that many disputes total around the GPL. Given consistency among
> *all* past experiences, it's reasonable to make predictions about future
> Also, I'm far more capable of predicting how a developer will respond
> than most lawyers. Perhaps because lawyers give proper lawyerly advice,
> which means they have to cover their butts, and I'm giving free, without
> warrantee, disinterested (well, somewhat disinterested) advice based on
> reasonable predictions of risk.
I am pretty sure you are breaking the law. If you doubt me, I will find some
support for this.
This does not mean I don't want to hear your opinion. It helps me decide how
much I want to worry about these things. I am using some gpl code as part of a
BSDed project. so far it is just a dependency, but the upcoming python
bindings haven't been done yet, and I may have to patch/fork the code, which
probably is not quite right, and I will send a "do you care?" to the author, but
I would think when he sees what I am doing there won't be any problem.
Reportlab won't use gpl code in it's code base, so I sent an email to the author
of the code asking if they would release it under whatever reportlab folks
wanted. Some people suggest they are being over cautious.
>> I may have read too much into the OP's query - whether justified or
>> not, I thought there might be commercial considerations involved
>> (perhaps since he said he'd read the GPL, which so few bother to do).
>> But I'm saddened to see you suggesting, apparently, that he should just
>> do what he wants to and not worry about violating a license since it
>> won't cost him much. BTW, if he's invested a good deal of time and
>> effort in setting things up using Fabric and has some compelling reason
>> not to choose the "GPL everything" solution, then that cost could turn
>> out not to be so small after all...
> You *never* have to GPL everything in response to the GPL. If you are
> distributing encumbered code to other people, you may have to
> disencumber it. I suppose it's possible that the people receiving the
> code might actually force you to do so -- I haven't really heard of
> this, but that party would be more justified in asserting their rights
> than the Fabric license holders. That party would probably be your
> paying customers, and so if you are giving them royalty-free rights to
> your code it wouldn't be a big deal anyway.
>>> then you might also burn some social capital. That's all you risk,
>>> and if you ask the Fabric people up front how they interpret the GPL
>>> then you don't even risk that. Any other prediction is simply false.
>> That's a good point - a clear statement of how the copyright holders
>> interpret the specific application would be a fine idea. A good lawyer
>> might have suggested this.
> I've gotten weird pushback from lawyers that statements of my intent
> aren't meaningful compared the license itself (despite the LGPL and GPL
> often being unclear anyway). I read this as bullshit, and it's made me
> wary of lawyers as good predictors of legal issues. (If you ask me
> about my licensing, and I say I'm not going to sue you, what more do you
If I cared enough to ask, I would care enough to get it in writing. and it would
be a waste of time if the writing wasn't something I felt was properly written,
which I am not qualified to gauge, so I would hire someone who was.
>>> Lawyers probably won't tell you this, which is why you shouldn't ask
>>> a lawyer.
>> Well, Sturgeon's Law, sure. I guess it can be hard to find a *good*
>> lawyer. :-/
> Which is why I think "ask a lawyer" is mostly stop energy, not really
> constructive. It's just not going to happen, or if it does then the
> lawyer will just add more stop energy. The law is *our* law, it doesn't
> belong to lawyers, and people shouldn't have to constantly defer to
Um... I own my pipes and the tree, but when the two conspire against me I call a
professional. Joe plumber owns a computer. If Joe wants a program written,
shouldn't he defer to a professional?
More information about the Chicago