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Linux.com: The Mockery of Mattel

Mar 29, 2000, 17:26 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Matt Michie)

"Eddy Jansson from Sweden and Matt Skala of Canada were the primary authors of a utility called cphack and a walk-through The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) jumped in with an offer to defend the two crypto-analysts, and things began to move forward. Mattel then fought to extend their injunction against the mirror sites as well. Each time one mirror was taken off-line, another sprung to life. Free speech and free software advocates began to gear up for the coming battle."

"Then unexpectedly, news broke that the two defendants had decided to settle with Mattel. They had granted Mattel copyright to their Cyper Patrol decryption program and documentation. The community was appalled, but somewhat understanding. After all, how many of us have the time, money, and resources to fight a legal battle against a huge corporation?"

"Now, a further twist has surfaced to complicate matters. Apparently, the source was released under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Once a program is distributed with the GPL, the copyright to that particular version can not be revoked. What does this do to the legality of the cphack source code? Is the GPL finally going to be tested in court? What are the ramifications of all this?"

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