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Re: MIT, Apache, BSD, GPL, LGPL what the h*ll

From: Daniel Berlin <dberlin_at_dberlin.org>
Date: 2002-07-07 06:27:58 CEST

On 6 Jul 2002, Paul Smith wrote:

> %% Daniel Berlin <dberlin@dberlin.org> writes:
> >> PS. FWIW, the FSF and RMS never venture purely personal opinions on
> >> legal matters. All their statements are endorsed by their lawyer.
> >> Certainly he has an agenda, but, while it's nothing personal, I'd
> >> bet on his personal opinion over yours, Branko :).
> db> Very dangerous idea.
> Exactly what idea do you find dangerous? That someone would be better
> advised to take the advice of a lawyer practiced in the relevant field
> over that of a layman?
> Surely you don't believe this.

I find two things dangerous.
1. assuming that RMS and the FSF never venture purely personal opinions
on legal matters.
He has, on occassion. Usually prefixed with "Having consulted with lawyers
about US law in the past, my opinion is ....", but sometimes not.
2. As a consequence of 1, betting on the personal opinion of RMS, the FSF,
etc, is dangerous, unless it specifically says it was endorsed by a lawyer
(and even then, of course, ....)

> db> None of the opinions have been tested in court, regardless who
> db> they are endorsed by.
> I never said, nor implied in any way, that they had been. I would love
> to see them tested, but until that happens everyone simply has to live
> with the situation as it stands.
> The safest way to use a license is by following the interpretation put
> forward by the licensors, even if you personally disagree with that
> interpretation: this gives you the very best chance of not being taken
> to court in the first place, which is always painful and risky.

This isn't as easy as you make it seem, but is correct enough that i'll
leave it at that.



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Received on Sun Jul 7 06:28:32 2002

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