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The GPL tested in US courts - Wallace Vs FSF

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Legal

On Monday March 20, 2006 US Federal Judge John Daniel Tinder, dismissed the Sherman Act antitrust claims brought against the Free Software Foundation. The claims made by Plaintiff Daniel Wallace included: that the General Public License (GPL) constituted a contract, combination or conspiracy; that it created an unreasonable restraint of trade; and that the FSF conspired with IBM, Red Hat Inc., Novell and other individuals to pool and cross-license their copyrighted intellectual property in a predatory price fixing scheme.

Peter Brown, FSF Executive Director, responded to the news, "As the author of the GPL and copyright holder on the largest body of GPL'd covered free software, the FSF hears many theories of potential legal claims and challenges to the GPL. We hear the fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) expressed, that the GPL has never been tested in court, and that somehow that is a sign of its weakness. Nothing could be further from the truth of course. Put quite simply, if you don't accept the terms of the GPL, then you have no rights to the copyrighted works it covers. What is there left to test? The GPL is a software license, it is not a contract. It gives permissions from the copyright holder. You don't want to accept those permissions? End of discussion."

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