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GPL Sued For "Software Price Fixing"

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capn_midnight    1707
hehehe, serves those altruistic bastards right. In fact, I might sue this physicist for using my idea that the FSF was technically engaging in price fixing.

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Tron3k    660
Wallace is asking the court for an injunction that would outlaw the use of the GPL in the United States.

If I had just one wish, it would be for this to come true.

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Drew_Benton    1861
I don't think this is merit enough for a new thread, but has anyone read this? It's from yesterday morning. Still a ways from being used, just look at the price, but that can be kind of scary down the line...

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Tron3k    660
Quote:
Original post by Lode
Does this mean all my games that use SDL will be illegal?
It wouldn't apply in Belgium. Even if you were in the US, it wouldn't make your games illegal, it would make the GPL non-effective, I suppose.

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Mercury    776
Quote:
Original post by Tron3k
Quote:
Original post by Lode
Does this mean all my games that use SDL will be illegal?
It wouldn't apply in Belgium. Even if you were in the US, it wouldn't make your games illegal, it would make the GPL non-effective, I suppose.

So the sources would become public domain, basically?

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Tron3k    660
I don't know. I'd guess they would just have to remove some provisions from it, rather than remove the whole GPL itself.

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Lode    1003
Quote:
Original post by Tron3k
Quote:
Original post by Lode
Does this mean all my games that use SDL will be illegal?
It wouldn't apply in Belgium. Even if you were in the US, it wouldn't make your games illegal, it would make the GPL non-effective, I suppose.


If I write a game, I don't want U.S. players to be unable to play it.

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Talroth    3247
I don't really see what their problem with this is. If someone wants people to have their software for free, and let them do everything included in GPL, whats to stop them from doing that?

If you don't want to use GPL, write your own licence, or use a different one.
I'm really tired right now, and haven't read over the complete GPL in awhile, but I don't see this as being any different than say, the licencing of Microsoft Windows.


Maybe we should sue Microsoft for charging us for copies of windows!!!
Someone care to explain just why the 'price fixing' is any different than what MS is doing with their own software?

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Michalson    1657
Actually, while it might not seem nice, the case actually has merit on legal grounds. In this case the FSF can legally be argued as a method of price fixing and anti-competitive practice - collusion between companies to fix the price of one component (the software) at a certain price in order unfairly (and illegally) to destroy competition, while at the same time reaping the rewards of this anti-competive practice by now being the only game in town for the real money maker - support.

To better understand the legal argument, lets imagine this scenario:

Epson and Cannon collude together, agreeing to sell their printers for $0 (making their money on ink [aka support]). HP and Brother can't possibly match this price, and so go out of business, and no new printer manufacturer can enter the market because Epson and Cannon's price fixing create an anti-competitive environment. Now just like in the GPL case, these companies would be attempting to gain monopoly control of one market through illegal methods in order to leverage it into controlling another market where they can make their real money (Microsoft is having trouble with EU for this kind of thing right now, only fair that the FSF and monopolies like IBM get the same treatment).

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Alpha_ProgDes    6921
So does that mean MS will join the lawsuit and sue GPL so OpenOffice and stop being a competitor? and while they're at it Linux since it's free too and competes with Windows?

nothing in the GPL says it has to be "free" as in $0, matter of fact companies do sell GPL'ed software (ex: Red Hat). plus, is this really about not being able to sell something and make a profit? it seems maybe it's a quality issue to me.

but they were right about one thing:
Quote:

Larry Rosen, the former general counsel of the Open Source Initiative (OSI), the body that authorizes open source licenses, has called the GPL and LGPL an “impenetrable maze of technological babble”.

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capn_midnight    1707
Quote:
Original post by Michalson
Actually, while it might not seem nice, the case actually has merit on legal grounds. In this case the FSF can legally be argued as a method of price fixing and anti-competitive practice - collusion between companies to fix the price of one component (the software) at a certain price in order unfairly (and illegally) to destroy competition, while at the same time reaping the rewards of this anti-competive practice by now being the only game in town for the real money maker - support.

To better understand the legal argument, lets imagine this scenario:

Epson and Cannon collude together, agreeing to sell their printers for $0 (making their money on ink [aka support]). HP and Brother can't possibly match this price, and so go out of business, and no new printer manufacturer can enter the market because Epson and Cannon's price fixing create an anti-competitive environment. Now just like in the GPL case, these companies would be attempting to gain monopoly control of one market through illegal methods in order to leverage it into controlling another market where they can make their real money (Microsoft is having trouble with EU for this kind of thing right now, only fair that the FSF and monopolies like IBM get the same treatment).

I would also say that it's not an unreasonable fear the such collusion has a significant effect on the market. Current, GNU Linux holds over 67% of the server OS market, and Apache holds something like 75% of the serving software market, and are constantly growing. Even one of the largest (if not the largest) software company in the world, Microsoft, can't break into that market, thereby demonstrating an insermountable barrier to entry.

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Raduprv    997
They might eb able to restrict companies from releasing free software, but I don't think they can legally prevent individuals from doing so.
If they do manage to prevent individuals from releasign free software, then when will they ban the Red Cross and other charities for providing free humanitarian services?

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capn_midnight    1707
Quote:
Original post by Alpha_ProgDes
So does that mean MS will join the lawsuit and sue GPL so OpenOffice and stop being a competitor? and while they're at it Linux since it's free too and competes with Windows?

nothing in the GPL says it has to be "free" as in $0, matter of fact companies do sell GPL'ed software (ex: Red Hat). plus, is this really about not being able to sell something and make a profit? it seems maybe it's a quality issue to me.

but it does say the source code must be free, both as in speech and as in beer. People buy Red Hat for the service package, the OS get's lumped in on top.

And I'm not hearing any rational discussion here from the GPL supporters, it's mostly been slippery-slope arguments.

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Raduprv    997
Quote:
Original post by capn_midnight
And I'm not hearing any rational discussion here from the GPL supporters, it's mostly been slippery-slope arguments.


Personally, I am not a great fan of GPL (although I do have 2 software pieces released as GPL) but I don't think it needs any rational discussion or justification.
In the land of the free, people should be able to have the freedom to release their work under whatever the hell license they want, just as everyone else has the freedom not to use the software they don't like.
Justifying GPL is like justifying adding salt in your food. You do it because you like it. Other people don't like it, so they are free not to put any salt in their food, or use more or less salt than you use.

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capn_midnight    1707
all of these quotes are from the GPL FAQ on the GNU website
Quote:

Why should I use the GNU GPL rather than other free software licenses?
Using the GNU GPL will require that all the released improved versions be free software. This means you can avoid the risk of having to compete with a proprietary modified version of your own work. However, in some special situations it can be better to use a more permissive license.

technically a pie is a derivative work of flour, apples, sugar, etc. Used cars with aftermarket upgrades are derivative works.

Quote:

Does the GPL allow me to require that anyone who receives the software must pay me a fee and/or notify me?
No. In fact, a requirement like that would make the program non-free. If people have to pay when they get a copy of a program, or if they have to notify anyone in particular, then the program is not free. See the definition of free software.

The GPL is a free software license, and therefore it permits people to use and even redistribute the software without being required to pay anyone a fee for doing so.

If I distribute GPL'd software for a fee, am I required to also make it available to the public without a charge?
No. However, if someone pays your fee and gets a copy, the GPL gives them the freedom to release it to the public, with or without a fee. For example, someone could pay your fee, and then put her copy on a web site for the general public.

If I don't like the fact that Red Hat charges for it's OS, I can turn around and distribute it myself. You are stupid if you pay for GPL software, there are so many ways around paying for it. If you "pay" for GPL software, you had better be getting something else as well (like service in the case of Red Hat).

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capn_midnight    1707
Quote:
Original post by Raduprv
Quote:
Original post by capn_midnight
And I'm not hearing any rational discussion here from the GPL supporters, it's mostly been slippery-slope arguments.


Personally, I am not a great fan of GPL (although I do have 2 software pieces released as GPL) but I don't think it needs any rational discussion or justification.
In the land of the free, people should be able to have the freedom to release their work under whatever the hell license they want, just as everyone else has the freedom not to use the software they don't like.
Justifying GPL is like justifying adding salt in your food. You do it because you like it. Other people don't like it, so they are free not to put any salt in their food, or use more or less salt than you use.


however, you are missing the point. This isn't about what people do with the GPL, this is about how the FSF has created the GPL in the first place and encouraged companies to use the GPL. If you want people to make derivative works of your work, and blah blah blah, then that's fine, this lawsuit will not stop that. What it will stop is the FSF pushing the GPL and "colluding" with software companies to "fix prices" at $0.

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Raduprv    997
Quote:
Original post by capn_midnight
technically a pie is a derivative work of flour, apples, sugar, etc. Used cars with aftermarket upgrades are derivative works.


Not really.
The issue here is that if you get RH_sugar, RH_pples and RH_flour, you must make the cookies, pies, etc. used with those RH_products to be free as well (and impose other derivates to also be free).
However, if you use YOUR_OWN_sugar, apples and flour, you can do whatever you want with YOUR_OWN_pie.

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Tron3k    660
Quote:
Original post by Lode
Quote:
Original post by Tron3k
Quote:
Original post by Lode
Does this mean all my games that use SDL will be illegal?
It wouldn't apply in Belgium. Even if you were in the US, it wouldn't make your games illegal, it would make the GPL non-effective, I suppose.


If I write a game, I don't want U.S. players to be unable to play it.
Don't worry... I'm sure Americans would never allow their freedoms to be hindered to such an extreme degree... I think. [wink]

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Raduprv    997
Quote:
Original post by capn_midnight
however, you are missing the point. This isn't about what people do with the GPL, this is about how the FSF has created the GPL in the first place and encouraged companies to use the GPL. If you want people to make derivative works of your work, and blah blah blah, then that's fine, this lawsuit will not stop that. What it will stop is the FSF pushing the GPL and "colluding" with software companies to "fix prices" at $0.


FSF is no FORCING anyone to use their GPL software. For example, in my case, I decided to use other NON GPL libraries, or write my own code, just so that I can have the freedom to distribute my code under non GPL licenses. Eternal Lands, for example, doesn't use any GPL library or application (external tools don't count).

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capn_midnight    1707
Quote:
Original post by Raduprv
Quote:
Original post by capn_midnight
however, you are missing the point. This isn't about what people do with the GPL, this is about how the FSF has created the GPL in the first place and encouraged companies to use the GPL. If you want people to make derivative works of your work, and blah blah blah, then that's fine, this lawsuit will not stop that. What it will stop is the FSF pushing the GPL and "colluding" with software companies to "fix prices" at $0.


FSF is no FORCING anyone to use their GPL software. For example, in my case, I decided to use other NON GPL libraries, or write my own code, just so that I can have the freedom to distribute my code under non GPL licenses. Eternal Lands, for example, doesn't use any GPL library or application (external tools don't count).


collusion is not forcing, it's working cooperatively.

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capn_midnight    1707
Quote:
Original post by Raduprv
Quote:
Original post by capn_midnight
technically a pie is a derivative work of flour, apples, sugar, etc. Used cars with aftermarket upgrades are derivative works.


Not really.
The issue here is that if you get RH_sugar, RH_pples and RH_flour, you must make the cookies, pies, etc. used with those RH_products to be free as well (and impose other derivates to also be free).
However, if you use YOUR_OWN_sugar, apples and flour, you can do whatever you want with YOUR_OWN_pie.


This is not MY_flour. This is GENERAL_MILLS_flour. Are you saying that General Mills should have the ability to say "You may only make cookies with our flour, you may not make cakes, and your recipe for cookies must be given away for free."

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Raduprv    997
Quote:
Original post by capn_midnight

This is not MY_flour. This is GENERAL_MILLS_flour. Are you saying that General Mills should have the ability to say "You may only make cookies with our flour, you may not make cakes, and your recipe for cookies must be given away for free."


Do you get it for free?
If so, it's their right to impose whatever restrictions they see fit.
If you pay for it, then it becomes CAPN_MIDNIGHT_flour.
Many companies that create GPL software also offer a non GPL license, if you are willing to pay for it.

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