from the clear-cut-copyright-clause-crackdown dept.
dilute writes "The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (an authoritative court that normally deals with patent law), has issued a strong ruling (PDF) upholding the Artistic License in a copyright dispute between the developers of the Java Model Railroad Interface (JMRI), and Kamind, a company that used portions of DecoderPro to develop a competing product. The product at issue was DecoderPro, an open source project released on SourceForge under the Artistic License, for interfacing with model railroad control chips. Kamind used a number of DecoderPro files in developing its product, Decoder Commander. However, Kamind did not comply with the Artistic License in a number of respects, including attribution, copyright notices, tracked changes or availability of the underlying standard version." Read on for more, below.
Dilute continues: "The lower court denied relief, saying that the Artistic License merely imposed 'contractual' promises, and that a violation did not constitute copyright infringement (any contract-based relief would probably have been meaningless). In a strong ruling, the Federal Circuit found that the Artistic License is legally enforceable, that its terms constituted 'conditions' for reliance on the license, and consequently that a violation of those conditions would put the violating product outside the license and thus make the violator a copyright infringer, potentially liable for an injunction. The case lays out a clear and compelling description of the rationale for open source, and reflects a complete willingness by the court to lend the force of law to these licenses."
Reader ruphus13 point to Lawrence Lessig's commentary on the ruling; Lessig calls it "huge and important news," and notes that the reasoning is generalizable to the GPL and other Free software licenses, as well.
How many surrealists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
One to hold the giraffe and one to fill the bathtub with brightly colored