Maybe not surprisingly, the GPL leans way too heavily onto the US interpretation of copyright law.
As I understand it, correcting this (to the extent possible) was one of the big considerations in GPLv3, though given the timeframe in this case it looks like they were using v2.
I don’t think that’s the conclusion here. This seems like a decision on the way a case must be prosecuted in France. This issue - mostly - doesn’t arise in common law countries because requiring correct “forms of action” was seen as one of the major inconveniences of English law in the Middle Ages which was explicitly reformed. To the extent that there’s any scope for falling into this sort of problem, it is usual practice to plead all viable causes of action as alternates and introduce evidence to support all of them.
I am sorry but as a European and a developer that uses open-source, I like the ruling (from what I can see). Basically, the court says that once you license something to someone and they break the license terms, you can’t go and wildly (maliciously?) claim that they pirated your software to which you hold copyright without any permission (which I would consider to be an intimidation tactic). If a user broke the terms of the GPL license, the court would only consider it as a violation of the licensing agreement. Though I think the court needs to consider if the consumer entered the licensing agreement without any intention of honoring it, which is what I think happened here. GPL is still enforceable in France as far I understand.
I don’t get logic of this ruling either. Did they license it to the offending company specifically? If not, how is that different from piracy?
If I install a copy of Windows that Microsoft has licensed to some enterprise, but not me, is that also just a contactual dispute?
Yes, that’s the point why this is so significant – if I am understanding correctly (and I am not a lawyer), the court has interpreted software piracy as purely a contractual dispute in French law.
I guess the CeCILL license/contract is a good alternative to GPL, then. That license is clearly written as a contract referring to French Civil/contract law and IP law.
Or https://ec.europa.eu/info/european-union-public-licence_en which is nice because has 22 language versions.
I wonder if movie piracy rings in France would also be unable to get an IP judgement against them…
I don’t think this would matter (also note that France does not have an English common-law system, so precedent does not apply in the same way that a similar ruling in the UK / USA would). As I understand it, the court is saying that a license existed and formed a valid contract between the owner of the work and the recipient. The redistribution violated the terms of this contract and so must be addressed via law as a breach of contract. In the case of straight-up piracy, there is no existing contract that is being violated. In general, most pirated media is not pirated by people that have a valid distribution license that doesn’t apply in the specific case.
The closest analogy is probably ‘not for resale’ DVDs. These are made available to rental places for a very low cost, in exchange for a percentage of the rental fees, so that rental places will stock things where they can’t guarantee making back from rentals the cost of buying the original media. If you then sell these disks, you are violating the contract with the copyright owner and so this court would likely agree that the copyright owner should seek restitution via contract law.
Agree with your interpretation. But if a case were brought as a contractual claim, this seems to imply the defendant could claim that no contract exists, that they brazenly copied code without regard to any contract just like any movie pirate, and the case must be brought as a copyright claim. Except it can’t be, because once a court rules on the contractual question the copyright question is barred.
This jurisdiction shopping seems to favor defendants asserting claims are in the wrong forum, until the forum question is unambiguously resolved (ie., one forum always hears these claims.) One forum declining to hear a claim doesn’t imply that the other forum will always hear them, and the lack of precedent means this decision cannot imply a mandate on trade courts to hear such claims.
There seem to be some stronger anti piracy laws in France, but they’re also not afraid to go against the rules of other countries https://www.pcworld.com/article/184075/nintendo_lose_piracy_lawsuit.html
Can’t the violators be gone after if they have any US dollars or assets somewhere? Basically everyone with any monetary success touches the US financial system
This article would benefit from excerpts from the relevant judgments. And ideally some related scholarship.