True, it’s clearly flamebait, and Slashdot rises to it: McBride’s New Open Letter on Copyrights. The letter/press release is a look into a seriously peculiar interpretation of the GPL, but what would you expect?
However, there is a group of software developers in the United States, and other parts of the world, that do not believe in the approach to copyright protection mandated by Congress. In the past 20 years, the Free Software Foundation and others in the Open Source software movement have set out to actively and intentionally undermine the U.S. and European systems of copyrights and patents. Leaders of the FSF have spent great efforts, written numerous articles and sometimes enforced the provisions of the GPL as part of a deeply held belief in the need to undermine or eliminate software patent and copyright laws.
The software license adopted by the GPL is called “copy left ” by its authors. This is because the GPL has the effect of requiring free and open access to Linux (and other) software code and prohibits any proprietary use thereof. As a result, the GPL is exactly opposite in its effect from the “copy right ” laws adopted by the US Congress and the European Union.
Uh-huh. Except, of course, that the GPL’s legal force derives from the very copyright laws that Mr. McBride asserts that it acts to subvert. Apparently, there are only some things one is allowed to do with one’s monopoly, and electing to use it to do something other than to extract monopoly rents is unconstitutional. I wonder if all of Mr. McBride’s life is governed by marketplace behavior — life at home must be pretty interesting.
And dragging Eldred v. Ashcroft into the discussion is just tragic.
Update: As usual, for the straight poop, see Groklaw, particularly the excellent Darl’s “Greed is Good” Manifesto — an excellent reminder that liberty, not profit, underlies the American experiment in government. Note that, according to GrokLaw, the site is cited in IBM’s recent reply briefs in advance of today’s hearings in Utah. The power of community……..