Public Domain Python

Tim Peters tim_one at
Thu Sep 14 06:44:43 CEST 2000

[Gregor Hoffleit]
> It would matter to you, though, if somebody would sue you for
> infringing his copyright.
> [...]
> So if you claim that it doesn't matter to you, you're basically
> saying "I don't care about whether it's legal or illegal to do
> this and that."

[Martin von Loewis]
> There are two other reasons why it might not matter:
> 1. "I know I'm breaking the GPL by integrating readline with Python
>     in my RedHat 7.5 distribution. However, since Python is free
>     software, I doubt the authors of the GPL will sue me - especially
>     as the FSF is the author of readline."

In this case it doesn't matter either that the FSF wrote the GPL or
readline, what matters is that the FSF is the *copyright* holder for
readline.  That's what gives them the basis to sue, if they want to.  It's
also what gives them the basis to make an exception, if they want to, and if
you *ask* them to in advance.  Don't go assuming anything here.  If it comes
to that, ask first.  Note that clause 10 of GPL2 explicitly gives the
copyright holder the right to grant exceptions.

AFAIK, we haven't talked w/ the FSF about that, though, because it's a much
less desirable approach all around (it would be a hack and a never-ending
hassle for everyone; we'd like a solution).

> 2. "I know he thinks I'm infringing his copyright, but I doubt that
>    this claim will stand a court trial - as its only grounds is the
>    choice of law clause."

Indeed, I expect *somebody* is going to want to provoke a legal
confrontation, *if* it comes to that.

So it's a good thing this will all be resolved in an eyeblink Real Soon Now.

whistling-in-the-light-ly y'rs  - tim

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