License Wars MEGA THREAD (now with GPL!)

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Again, as long as you don't copy-paste code from someone else's program, then IMHO the legal risk is pretty much zero, as the only people with the right to sue (i.e. developers) (a) have no interest in doing so and (b) would likely have their case thrown out of court citing implicit consent.

And if all your contributors are alive and can be contacted, then ask them to consent to an explicit license change adding the exception (or switching to LGPL) and be done with it. See here: http://orbiter-forum.com/showthread.php?p=468312&postcount=36
The exception thing was already discussed as not sufficing. I don't want the LGPL as for the reasons I've stated.

You OTOH seems to be fine with that. That's cool :thumbup:.

Honestly, I don't really see what the fuss is all about. This thread has probably used more developer time than it would take to solve the problem.
ATM my developer time is completely free, so I can stroll around here a bit. Nobody is obliged to post here, AFAIK.
 

meson800

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Since the same problem might apply to OrbiterSound and Ummu - yes, its thinkable that this dev team might itself be forced to at least suspend public availability until a replacement is available.
Wouldn't an additional exception for OrbiterSound and UMMU be enough though?
 

Urwumpe

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Wouldn't an additional exception for OrbiterSound and UMMU be enough though?
When the license of a project has more exceptions than some German laws, what sense is then in using such a license at all?

Every exception only makes the license vulnerable. One or two such exceptions are tolerable, for example without Orbiter, it would be impossible to run SSU at all and any change in the platform Orbiter would mean critical changes to the whole project structure (file formats, architecture).

Also, I think that should such a technical dependency result in the combination of license and product becoming contradictory (just like demanding open windows on a submarine), its very hard to defend such a situation and it will be easy to convince a judge that a cease and desist against us could be justified.
 

Lisias

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How jerkish has FSF been historically?
Zero. In all the moves I'm aware from them, they were right and dropped the charges in the exact instant that offender complied to the claims.


Have they ever aggressively litigated someone that acted in good faith because of the fine print?
No that I'm aware off.


They seem pretty reasonable to me. Seem to go after corporations that profit from GPL, and flagrantly. When your legal team works pro-bono, I suppose that you have to prioritize... :rolleyes:
They are reasonable.

Our problem is that - if we are going to violate the GPL, why bothering using it? We would be the ones in bad faith.

Moreover, Hangar would be liable by hosting add-ons that are in GPL violations and, so, non GPL protected and, if without a second license, not legally downloadable and usable by Orbiter users. That liability is minimal - just wasting time to taking down the add on if requested, but it's a nuisance to say the least - and a waste of efforts from the developer in developing it and from the maintainers in hosting in the mean time.

A 100% legal safety net is impossible - any half :censored: copyright troll, I mean, attorney can harass O-H maintainers for any :censored: reason his client can afford to pay.

But in my humble opinion, we do not have to make their jobs easier. By standing on the right side, we always can hope to get help.

---------- Post added at 07:15 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:07 PM ----------

But you have contributed knowing that the code will be linked to Orbiter, so you have de facto accepted a license exception even if one was not explicitly specified
It' my understanding that unlawful clauses or agreements are void - so agreeing implicitly with (unlawful) linking on Orbit will not legitimize it neither nullify the guy's right to complain later.

But your mileage can vary, what I said can be valid in my country and not in yours (and I don't know about USA).


No, unless the add-on in question contains code copyrighted by FSF. Only copyright holder can file copyright claims.
The add-on in question contains FSF copyrighted material, the GNU License itself. By using FSF copyrighted material, you are obliged to fulfill FSF terms, or you will be in Copyright violation on the... Copyright License itself! :)

(I'm telling you, that guys are geniuses!)
 

dseagrav

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I've been asking questions on stackexchange about the GPL, and I got this answer which I think might clear up some of the questions here:

The question:
contributors clearly intended for their work to be used with the closed-source program in question. They did not know the GPL forbade it. It is exceedingly unlikely that one of them will take legal action against the project.

If the project continues despite the GPL violation, what is our legal exposure to third parties? Can the FSF or any other group sue us?
Answer:
If the project does not create and distribute a combined work of the plugin and the closed source host, then I see no realistic liability. This is because you aren't violating the GPL. A violation occurs when someone combines the GPL library with the closed source component and then distributes the result. You haven't done that, so you haven't violated anything. Someone who uses your plugin in the privacy of their home or business, but doesn't redistribute it, doesn't violate the GPL, either.

Only the copyright holders of your project have a course of action if someone does combine the works and distribute them. So if all of you agree that it was your intent to permit this use, then none of you will bother users. If none of you bother users, including anyone who creates and distributes a combination, there is no one to sue anyone else.

A very faint liability might come into play if, in fact, some copyright holder did sue some third party for violating the license, and the third-party tried to come up with a counter-suite that you all somehow led him or her astray. I don't believe it; at worse, the fact that you all published this component looks to me like estoppel against any attempt by any of you to enforce the license.

Remember, the GPL is a license that you, the copyright holder, grant. You own the rights. You are the only people who can bother anyone else for violating the terms of the license. If you choose (like Linux) to take a different view of plugins and linkage, you can do that.
 

Lisias

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[/COLOR]Addendum: Also the FSF might have something to say about 'misappropriation' of their license, but attempts to construe that as a license violation would be a gross over-stepping of their remit.
Not, it would not. I fact, it's their best interest in avoid any use of the GPL that is not compliant with what they want - by what other reason Microsoft didn't release code under "GPL"? ;)

If you claim your code is released under the GPL, you *must* comply with GPL terms. Or you will be in license violation of the license - and *it is* FSF interest to prevent that.
 

Lisias

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I've read the GNU License in full and our problems stem from these 2 paragraphs. In english they say that "Source Code" is everything required for someone with an appropriate compiler to produce a compiled version of the work, and that you can share these compiled versions as long as you also share the "Source Code"

side note: The Orbiter SDK (the Headers and Libs) does not fall under "generally available free programs" or "System Libraries"
Neither Windows SDK are free to. But GPL programs can be written for Windows nevertheless.


Just for information, LGPL isn't suitable either, as the exceptions to the GPL included in that are for things linking to us, but we're the ones doing the linking, so it doesn't help us.
I think your're wrong.

I see many projects that are not GPL using GPL plugins, and as far as I know, it's legal.

When you states "us", we are saying "We, Orbiter developers" or "We, Add-on developers"?

Me, as an add-on developer, creates DLLs that as linked to Orbiter. This situation is already covered in the discussion, and it's possible and legal.

What's shady is what to do if I need to link into other's addons that are not GPL (as Orbiter Sound). The Linux Kernel demonstrates that at least with GPL2, it's possible (look on all that GPU kernel drivers).
 

meson800

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This is because you aren't violating the GPL. A violation occurs when someone combines the GPL library with the closed source component and then distributes the result.
Oh. We have quite literally been arguing over nothing :rofl:

We all forgot about the distribution requirement. All Orbiter addons are not distributed with Orbiter, so it doesn't matter that it's closed source.
 

Lisias

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Keeping it positive, who's dismissive advice? Is anyone arguing that GPL w/ exception is not a solution?
Lisias is. Urwumpe also thinks so if I'm not mistaken. Because of that whole Orbiter-links-to-other-addons-too thing.
I PROTEST . I NEVER SAID THAT.

See this, this , and mainly, THIS.

Your problem is not with Orbiter, since it is the Host Application and you are the plugin - and the GPL states that you can make an exception for this (a nuisance, not a problem).
Please be more careful about what you say other people said. :facepalm:
 

jangofett287

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Your problem is not with Orbiter, since it is the Host Application and you are the plugin - and the GPL states that you can make an exception for this (a nuisance, not a problem).
Can you Quote where in the GPL it says this, especially considering at the top it says
Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.
 

Lisias

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What I said was that it cannot be an ideal solution, as it appears to do not cover every legal loophole. From here:

Yes, I'm talking about others GPL'ed addons - the closed source ones just don't care. :)

Since you are adding exceptions to your GPL licensing, and since the other guys that GPL'ed their addons also added exceptions to their licensing, what would happen if they forgot an exception that you need? How would you prevent into linking in their code and being a licensee violator yourself? [...]

You user installs the Payload Manager replacement and Orbiter Sound *and* your addon. Your addon links against Payload Manager, that is linked against Orbiter Sound, that your license didn't exempts.

Are you in GPL violation? (It appears to me that yes, the GPL states against indirect linking - but I'm not sure if it would apply here...)
(emphasis are mine).

I was stating an opinion, a concern I have about all that linking stuff side effects.

If by dismissing you mean this, I think you own me (and some other guys here) an apology.
 

kamaz

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Our problem is that - if we are going to violate the GPL, why bothering using it?
1. You cannot violate your own copyright any more than you can steal a car from yourself.

2. Nobody has managed to convincigly demonstrate that a GPL'd Orbiter DLL violates license by merely linking with non-free core. Observe that the license terms say:

b) You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties under the terms of this License.
FSF's argument is that at runtime, an Orbiter+DLL combo is created transiently in RAM, and this combo is a derived work of the GPL'd code, and should be covered by GPL as such. However, their point is moot, simply because this combo is never distributed:

Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not covered by this License; they are outside its scope. The act of running the Program is not restricted
The add-on in question contains FSF copyrighted material, the GNU License itself. By using FSF copyrighted material, you are obliged to fulfill FSF terms, or you will be in Copyright violation on the... Copyright License itself! :)
Utter nonsense. Have you ever read the actual copyright law?
 

Lisias

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You also said this: http://www.orbiter-forum.com/showthread.php?p=511254&postcount=87

Perhaps you should be more careful about what you post?
No. You should be more careful about how you interpret people.

I was not being "dismissive", I was not dismissing the solution : I was arguing about a loophole I found in the solution.

Language barrier is always a problem, so I give you the benefit of the doubt - but you had call me a liar, one that uses of perfidy while arguing!
 

kamaz

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Oh. We have quite literally been arguing over nothing :rofl:

We all forgot about the distribution requirement. All Orbiter addons are not distributed with Orbiter, so it doesn't matter that it's closed source.
Well, not exactly.

The fact of the matter is that distribution of Orbiter + GPL-DLL as a functional unit indeed appears to be illegal.

While this is not relevant in context of OH, it becomes very relevant in case someone was selling pre-built Orbiter simpits.
 

Lisias

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Oh. We have quite literally been arguing over nothing :rofl:

We all forgot about the distribution requirement. All Orbiter addons are not distributed with Orbiter, so it doesn't matter that it's closed source.
Yes, and that is the reason I'm stating since the beginning that Orbiter being closed source is not a problem! :)

All the (alleged) copyright infringements would be on the Add-On developer.

So, yes. I can download GPL code, and use it the way I want without care.

But I'm allowed to redistribute it? Not always, and this is celeuma we're facing (pun not intended) here.
 
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