[Scottish] Eben Moglen (GPL author) lecture Edinburgh, 26th June

Dan Shearer dan at shearer.org
Wed Jun 13 08:34:13 BST 2007

On Wed, Jun 13, 2007 at 04:51:42PM +0930, Dan Shearer wrote:
> On Wed, Jun 13, 2007 at 07:07:55AM +0100, William Anderson wrote:
> > Dan Shearer wrote:
> > >This is a heads-up: Eben Moglen, the lawyer behind the GPL family of
> > >licenses, [snip]
> > 
> > what?  RMS wrote GPLs v1 and 2 long before Moglen joined the FSF.
> What I wrote is correct.

More specifically, Eben was the first lawyer to become engaged in
understanding what the GPL2 meant, as far as I have heard. Understanding
what a contract really means is something that happens over time with
enforcement, and this is what Eben has been busy with for 15 years. I'm
pretty sure RMS did consult with some lawyers when drafting GPLv2, I
can't remember, but there were no lawyers behind the license until Eben
turned up.

Quote from http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Keynote_about_GPL3_at_HOSC_2006 : 

Well, first I want to put on record, yet again, the fact that I went to work
for Mr. Stallman in 1993. I don?t want any credit for GPL version 2. Not
because it?s not a thing that anybody in his right mind would want credit for,
but simply because I deserve no credit whatever, OK?  I came to the license as
a lawyer after it had already been long in use, I accepted the cards as they
were dealt and I thought they were the most brilliant hand I?d ever seen. I
thought anybody could play that hand. I thought ?It?s a shame that nobody
better than me has turned up to play this hand as a lawyer, because these are
the nicest cards on earth, and they?re going begging.? Of course there were
some people who thought they didn?t want Mr. Stallman as a client. That was a
fundamental misjudgment, in my view, but nonetheless.  So, with that in mind, I
would say that I was not surprised by any of the businesses participating in
the process, because I deal with those people all the time in my ordinary life
as the lawyer responsible for enforcing GPL on behalf of the Free Software
Foundation, and as the founder of the Software Freedom Law Center.

Dan Shearer
dan at shearer.org

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