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[FYI] (Fwd) FC: Cyberpatrol suit takes GNU twist -- Mattel's victory

------- Forwarded message follows -------
Date sent:      	Tue, 28 Mar 2000 10:00:49 -0500
To:             	politech@vorlon.mit.edu
From:           	Declan McCullagh <declan@well.com>
Subject:        	FC: Cyberpatrol suit takes GNU twist -- Mattel's victory not one
Send reply to:  	declan@well.com

I've put up the first few lines of the cphack utility which explicitly
releases it under the GPL at:



    Mattel Suit Takes GNU Twist
    by Declan McCullagh (declan@wired.com)
    3:00 a.m. Mar. 28, 2000 PST

    BOSTON -- Mattel's claim of victory Monday in a lawsuit over its
    Cyberpatrol filtering software may be premature.

    The toy giant said during a court hearing here that it had
    acquired intellectual property rights to a program that reveals
    Cyberpatrol's secret list of off-limits websites and settled the
    case. Mattel said it planned to use its new copyright in court to
    ban Internet copying of the "cphack" utility.

    But cphack's authors released it under the GNU General Public
    License, which appears to permit unlimited distribution of the
    original cphack program, even if Mattel now owns the copyright.

    "Once you do that you can't revoke it," said Bennett Haselton of
    Peacefire, a group opposed to filtering software that temporarily
    put up its own cphack mirror site.

    The Free Software Foundation's GPL agreement says that "the
    recipient automatically receives a license from the original
    licensor to copy, distribute or modify the program."

    Translation: A copyright holder can't change his mind.

    "GPL is software that cannot be revoked," said Eben Moglen, a law
    professor at Columbia University and FSF general counsel. "Anyone
    downstream who possesses a copy of the software may redistribute

    "It's a very amusing case," Moglen said. "If people are going to
    respond to free software they don't like by trying to wipe it out,
    they're in for some real trouble."

    A spokeswoman for Mattel reached late Monday said she didn't know
    what the effect of the GPL would be.

    But she said cphack authors Eddy Jansson and Matthew Skala had
    signed a contract with Mattel and if there was any deception,
    "they'd be in big trouble."




    Mattel Stays on the Offensive
    by Declan McCullagh (declan@wired.com)
    2:45 p.m. Mar. 27, 2000 PST

    BOSTON -- Upping the stakes in a battle over a utility that
    reveals Cyberpatrol's list of off-limits websites, Mattel
    threatened mirror sites with contempt charges during a court
    hearing Monday afternoon.

    Mattel, which sells Cyberpatrol, said the toy giant had acquired
    the copyright to "cphack" from the two cryptoanalysts who
    published it on their website earlier this month in a settlement
    agreement signed on March 24.

    Citing a March 16 Slashdot thread that said "it's time to
    mirror!", Mattel attorney Irwin Schwartz advised against anyone
    thinking of distributing cphack from now on.


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