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The information on Groklaw is not intended to constitute legal advice. While Mark is a lawyer and he has asked other lawyers and law students to contribute articles, all of these articles are offered to help educate, not to provide specific legal advice. They are not your lawyers.

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We the public | 264 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
We the public
Authored by: Anonymous on Wednesday, December 12 2012 @ 02:20 PM EST
Um, actually it does.

Because of how the GPL works, third parties (to the agreements - and
specifically authors of code contributed to the GPL "whole") do care
and are
impacted and relevant.

E.g. If party X takes a GPL thing, and (whether or not they make changes) then
"licenses" it to party Y (where the "license" includes
GPL-incompatible terms),
then it is _X_ who is now in trouble.

Specifically, party X would then be violating the GPL, and lose all license
granted to it by way of the GPL, and thus would be violating copyright.

So, even though the "transaction" may have been something strictly
between X
and Y, all the GPL contributor third-parties have a profound interest in the
details.

briand (not logged in)

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

We the public
Authored by: tknarr on Wednesday, December 12 2012 @ 02:36 PM EST

It is relevant. If I write some GPL code, and Tim gets a copy of it and redistributes it, Tim must comply with the terms of the GPL. One of those terms is that if Tim pays for a license for a patent which purports to cover my code, that license must cover everyone who uses my code regardless of who they got it from. If Tim takes a license which only grants rights to Tim, he's in violation of his license to use my code. Now, if you come along and claim to have a patent applicable to my code and try to get Tim to take a license which only applies to him, or even just to him and anyone receiving the code directly from him but not further downstream recipients or people who got the code from someone other than Tim, I'm involved. The deal may be between you and Tim, but it's terms affect the license I granted to Tim and his compliance with it. If he accepts your terms, he's in violation of the license I granted him. If you attempt to impose terms on him that conceal his violation of his license from me, the copyright holder of the code in question, you could be in trouble as well as you're acting to induce a copyright violation.

Not that this is new. This is a basic case of property being involved in an action that doesn't belong to either party to the action. If I make a deal with a contractor to do some remodeling of my apartment, the apartment complex management has a right to involve themselves because it's their apartment that's being remodeled even though they're not a party to the contract between me and the contractor.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

We the public
Authored by: PJ on Wednesday, December 12 2012 @ 02:51 PM EST
The license is evidence in the case. That makes
it relevant. If Apple and HTC violated the
GPL, by getting HTC to pay for a patent that
reads on anything in the kernel, they they
are violators of Most Holy IP, to put it
in the way they can understand. The law calls
that unclean hands, by the way, which would
make it relevant indeed. You can't sue for
IP infringement while infringing someone's
IP.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

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