March 15, 2004

The Future of the GPL

Professor Eben Moglen, currently on leave from the Columbia University law faculty, has been -- as counsel to the Free Software Foundation (FSF) --
the lawyer most involved with the application and testing of the GPL for over a decade. He says, "I believe the constitutionality attack on the GPL is
not a tenable legal argument but is rather a public relations argument."

The legal minds behind the design and implementation of the GPL don't seem especially concerned. Professor Eben Moglen, currently on leave from the
Columbia University law faculty, has been -- as counsel to the Free Software Foundation (FSF) -- the lawyer most involved with the application and
testing of the GPL for over a decade. He says, "I believe the constitutionality attack on the GPL is not a tenable legal argument but is rather a
public relations argument."

In a talk at Harvard in February, he addressed the issue of constitutionality by referring to Congress's recent extension of copyright term limits.
"It turns out that there's no such thing as an unconstitutional copyright rule," he said, "if Congress passes it, and if it observes the distinction
between expression and idea."

Referring to the Supreme Court's decision in Eldred v Ashcroft, he continued: "The existing copyright law is constitutional and our license, which
fully observes all the requirements that the copyright law places upon it, are also presumptively constitutional."

Link: linuxinsider.com

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