Compare And Contrast: How GPL Enforces Violations vs. How RIAA/MPAA/BSA Enforce Violations

from the it's-a-bit-different dept

While we've discussed how extreme views in the open source community can, at times, rival the way the entertainment industry acts towards those who violate licenses, reader Nick Coghlan writes in to point to an article that highlights how different they are in many cases, with Bradley Kuhn, the technical director of the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC), putting forth new guidelines that encourage people not to jump to conclusions when they see potential violations, and to give the benefit of the doubt to anyone they suspect of violating the license. Compare that to the tens of thousands of threat letters sent out by the RIAA, at times with little real evidence.
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Filed Under: copyright, enforcement, gpl, licenses, violations
Companies: riaa, sflc


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2009 @ 7:28pm

    Re: Freeloaders: Software vs Art

    I think something needs to be clarified about the difference between software and other forms of artistic expression (music, books, movies etc).

    I think something needs to be clarified to you about the nature of the GPL: it's about freedom, not compensation. Thus the idea of "freeloading" (getting something for free) isn't even part of it. Yet people continue think of it that way. I think that may be because they are so used to thinking about *everything* in terms of money that they have difficulty relating to anything else. Some people even think it is somehow illegal to sell GPL software. Nothing could be further from the truth. The GPL doesn't care, it isn't about money.

    Instead, the term “freeloader” tends to be reserved for people who want to redistribute compiled-only versions of the software, without passing on access to the source, and possibly imposing other additional restrictive conditions as well.

    No, that's a term you're trying to erroneously apply. People who violate the license are properly called "infringers".

    Such a situation doesn’t seem very feasible for regular art, but it happens with software all the time.

    What do you mean by "regular" art? Do you mean only for-profit commercial art is "regular" and thus everything else is "irregular"? Again, you seem to thinking of everything in terms of money. Believe it or not, there is actually art out there created for other purposes.

    So drop the "freelader" bit. It doesn't even apply. (Especially not the way it does to a for-profit activity like commercial art.) Now, if you start talking about taking away people's freedom to modify their software, then that's relative to the GPL.

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