Andreas Roehler <andreas.roehler(a)online.de> writes:
IMO assignment policy contradicts the spirit of free software.
Wrong. Of Public Domain software. But if we are talking about
copylefted software, the concept is that that the upstream author
retains the legal means to keep derivative works as free as his own
work. And of you take a look at the respective bodies of code that are
available as public domain and those that are available as copyrighted
software, clearly public domain has not broken through in the market.
BSD-licensed software and its derivatives (like Solaris) have only been
made freely available after GNU/Linux broke through, even though
starting out later.
If you take a look at typical Linux GPL compliance lawsuits, you'll see
that most of Linux is effectively public domain since nobody bothers
pursuing his copyright claims (which are for a very minor and often not
identifiable part of the whole). Typical plaintiffs are the authors of
the netfilter code. Which is actually rather ridiculous and leaves a
very small party with the burden of effectively doing the compliance
work for the work of many people.
With FSF-assigned GNU software, the FSF does the compliance work. And
it can do so for _substantial_ rather than minuscule parts of the whole.
So it can take care that the teeth that have been designed into the GPL
are actually sitting in a live jaw. That's not contradicting the spirit
of free software, but rather upholding it.
It means a one-time hassle and nuisance for contributors, yes.
It shows very unpleasant damages in mind
I think it somewhat too cheap to call people brain-damaged that have
taken a lot of work consulting with people versed in the law, because
they came to different conclusions as you did without consulting
Copyright is an important issue now, taken
very seriously. Before code was exchanged freely, as
Richard told nicely the very beginnings of the
movement. Meanwhile we came to the opposite: jealously
and meticulous line counting habits.
Richard did not write copyright law. The line counting nuisance is what
the lawyers of the FSF have figured out as the boundaries where the FSF
is still being in safe conformance with the requirements they see in
connection with assuring the legal workability of the GPL.
Assignment stifles cooperation rather then being helpful.
Assignment is an inconvenience. Unfortunately, I have not seen
convincing proof that it is an unnecessary inconvenience.
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