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Re: Licensing

From: Chris Travers <chris(at)travelamericas(dot)com>
To: Bruno Wolff III <bruno(at)wolff(dot)to>,PostgreSQL advocacy <pgsql-advocacy(at)postgresql(dot)org>
Subject: Re: Licensing
Date: 2005-03-06 00:55:29
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Lists: pgsql-advocacy
>No really. The software is GPL and you can use it as you would any GPL
>software. However MySQL threatans to take people to court if they use
>the software commercially. They may or may not win, but this gets companies
>to pay MySQL license fees rather than pay to go to court.
>In theory if your application isn't tied tightly to MySQL you should be
>able to win a lawsuit. But the first couple of companies that did this
>will probably end up paying more in court costs than license fees.
This is an extremely important point IMHO (IANAL).  My company releases 
most of the projects we do under the GPL (unlike MySQL we don't require 
that changes get assigned to us).  One of the thing that makes the GPL 
very powerful is that the balance of risk in litigating favors just 
buying the licenses.

Like many, I think that the GPL would largely stand up in court but some 
of the ambiguity inherent in the question of what exactly is a 
derivative work will slowly get hammered out by the courts.  For 
example, I am not convinced that linking is sufficient to consider a 
work derivative.  But until people have an incentive (on the balance) to 
ask the court to clarify this question, I suspect that the term will 
largely mean whatever the licensor says it means.

This means that obtaining GPL'd software from a single commercial entity 
is fairly risky because one is held captive to the possibility of 
litigation-based extortion.

Best Wishes,
Chris Travers
Metatron Technology Consulting

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