ZDNet article on GPL is wrong and misleading. PJ (paralegal) does not fully understand the law she's spoke about.

From: vnsndalce
Date: Fri Jan 04 2019 - 01:59:54 EST

Often cited now is a ZDNet article as proof that the black-letter law is wrong.


In there is quoted:

In 2008, Pamela Jones at Groklaw remarked to an earlier attempt to take code out of the kernel, "[You] can't retroactively revoke licenses previously granted, unless the license terms allow you to do so. The most you can do is stop granting new licenses."

(Pamela Jones was a paralegal).

Jones continued "Here's the GPL v2. See any terms allowing you to revoke? Me neither." In short, we've seen this problem before.

Now, this is true for commercial licenses which are contracts, that is because an interest is attached: You payed consideration for the terms of the contract. The contract states a method of revocation, you payed the owner for that term, that term controls.

This is NOT true for a license (permission to use property) that has simply been given to you.

This is a crucial point that they keep ignoring, intentionally.

I have the legal books they are reading and operating from, and they simply speak about commercial licensing contracts.

They're helpful if you're just going through the motions to get cases before a judge, but without knowing the rest of the law: one doesn't know what one doesn't know.

Basically how they are researching the law is: "ok let's look up the subject: Copyright", they then look up "revocation", and read how the courts generally resolve these issues, these issues always involving commercial paid licensing contracts, and not gratuitous licenses.

They do not ask "well why is it that these various copyright licenses are irrevocable?". The reason is: they are irrevocable because the taker has payed for them to be irrevocable. They payed the owner for that term, and the owner can't then take away what he gave them.

(A lawyer, generally, knows this and has a wider view of the law. A paralegal: no - they work mostly on whatever their employer works on. And yet ZD Net and everyone else cites her and ignores the underlying law.)

Which simply is not the case with a gratuitous grant of permission.

They either didn't pay attention to that part in law school, forgot about it, or are trying to defend the position of their clients.

Many of the various linux programmers simply gave permission, and didn't ask for anything in return. Additionally the takers did not give them anything in return (not that an un-asked for payment would sufficent: it wouldn't be).

Thus it is a gratuity from linux-coder-1007 to downloading-and-hacking-entity-10000007 that said entity may use linux-coder-1007's code, and modify it, and redistribute the modifications.

It's a pure gratuitous license from linux-coder-1007 to whomever.

And that permission can be rescinded by linux-coder-1007 when he wishes.

Basically the words of a paralegal is taken as gospel truth, the words of a license attorney, even when explaining the issues in great detail, including their foundations, is taken as dog shit.

"LOL NOPE: PJ said otherwise in 2005, u wrong!"

<"PJ is repeating the rule she knows from a section in Copyright Litigation Handbook, which applies to commercial copyright contracts, very specifically _because_ they are _commercial_ _contracts_ (that is: the taking side has secured his interest, there has been a meeting of the minds, etc). And yes I have the same handbook, along with many many other volumes"

"Haha fuck you you don't know anything and are LYING!"