Bruce Perens-inconsistent statements regarding Copyright, GPL, Open Source Security.
Date: Fri Oct 19 2018 - 07:40:35 EST
In a prior public statement, Bruce Perens put forth a legal theory where
users of a certain piece of Software would be liable for contributory
copyright infringement*. This statement, specifically the
pronouncement of such damages reachable, is predicated on a pure
copyright License theory regarding the grant under-which the Linux
Kernel is distributed and modified.
As we all know, under a contract theory, damages are quite limited
regarding opensource licenses** (See the initial district court
determination of Jacobsen v. Katzer) and the legal theory published by
Bruce Perens, if analyzed under a contract theory regarding the GPL
would become a less-than-likely scenario.
** (For this very reason, the FSF specifically drafted version 2 of the
GPL to avoid language that would tend to induce a contract reading
rather than a bare license construction. The FSF has maintained for
decades that the GPL is a bare license and is not a contract)
It is just that utterance, added by Bruce Perens, regarding contributory
copyright infringement damages reachable vis a vis the GPL version 2,
that induced upwards of 70 of Open Source Security's clients to cease
their business dealings with Open Source Security.
Bruce Perens has recently made known, publicly, that he currently
believes in a Contract theory regarding the GPL version 2, specifically
regarding the Linux Kernel. He has stated that he, infact, in the past
has supplied expert testimony praying to the court for it to find that
the GPL is, in fact, a contract (and not a bare (copyright) license). He
has stated that the court has indeed relied on his testimony in various
Bruce Perens argues that case law has overridden the esteemed Raymond
Nimmer's opinion that the GPL is not a contract and is, at best, a
failed contract, and likely a bare license akin to a property license.
Bruce Perens further clarifies that it was his very own testimony that
has convinced the court that the GPL is infact not a bare license and is
instead a contract.
If these pleadings were to have occurred prior to the theory published
regarding Open Source Security and its Contributor Access Agreement,
that would put the lie to any suggestion that Bruce Perens in fact
believed in the theory that he published at the time of publication and
would instead suggest that rather than proffering his opinion regarding
a matter - he was instead intentionally publishing a theory he believed
to be a lie in-order to harm Open Source Security - A goal that has
indeed been effected (specifically by the "Contributory Copyright
Description: PNG image