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Re: redistributing cygwin1.dll

Christopher Faylor <> writes:

> I said that I would research this GPL thing back in March and I sent
> the results of the research to the mailing list in a clearly
> labelled message.  I have no intention of doing research to find a
> URL.  I've verified that it was actually sent in my personal
> archives.

I assume you mean <>.
That still does not answer my main question: What good is achieved or
harm is avoided by strict enforcement of the GPL in cases like this?

The only credible response so far is, roughly, that you must enforce
your license or risk being unable to do so in the future.  I spoke to
an IP lawyer today (informally), and I am going to share what I
learned.  If this makes me a "troll" whom you want to ban from the
list, so be it.

The relevant legal principle is called the "Doctrine of Laches".  It
typically applies when a copyright holder sues for infringement after
a long period of ignoring a violation.  (For example, when Xerox sued
Apple and Microsoft over the desktop metaphor.)

But this doctrine is very unlikely to apply here.  We are not talking
about ignoring a specific violation and pursuing it later.  We are
talking about "selective enforcement" of a license; that is, enforcing
the license differently for different people committing different
violations.  And in general, selective enforcement does NOT diminish
your rights under copyright law.

It is obvious (to me, anyway) that not all violations of the GPL are
equal.  There is a big difference between:

  A) Redistributing a GPL binary as-is, for free, with clear
     indications of where the source can be obtained


  B) Taking GPL source code, modifying it, compiling it, and selling
     the result as a binary-only product

Treating these two cases identically is consistent, but it is a
foolish consistency.

It would be simple to craft language which would let you INFORMALLY
permit (A) without diminishing your ability to prosecute (B).  Of
course, this would require that you have some desire to distinguish
these cases, which obviously you do not.

 - Pat

P.S.  Do you believe you are capable of having a reasonable discussion
with someone who disagrees with you?  Do you believe you are capable
of having your mind changed by an argument?  I ask because I have
tried to write reasoned, intelligent messages; a little condescending,
perhaps, but no more so than the vast majority of your own.  Yet your
replies so far have amounted to little more than name calling
("troll", "boor", and so on).

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