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In many cases, the end of the year gives you time to step back and take stock of the last 12 months. This is when many of us take a hard look at what worked and what did not, complete performance reviews, and formulate plans for the coming year. For me, it is all of those things plus a time when I u...
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Linux.SYS-CON.com FEEDBACK: "The Copyleft/GPL Is Unequivocally a License"
"The GPL license has been scrutinized by the finest legal minds looking for loopholes and has still stood for over a decade."

  • Read Daniel Wallace's original Letter to the Editor
  • Read response to Daniel Wallace by Celia Santander Esq.

    Writing in refutation of Daniel Wallace's January 30 Letter to the Editor, David Mohring notes:

    1) The GPL License is a grant of rights, not a contract.
    2) Grants of rights do not require consideration.
    3) Federal copyright law trumps local state laws.

    "The flaw logic Daniel Wallace uses has been raised," observes Mohring, "and utterly refuted many times since it was first put forward over a DECADE ago."

    Mohring then adduces a Usenet thread from 1989-10-16 from which he quotes what he terms a "definitive reply" by Michael C. Berch, Member of the California Bar:

    "My analysis is as follows:

    1. The Copyleft/GPL is unequivocally a license. The concept of a license for copyrighted material is very well developed in copyright case law, and there is nothing about the Copyleft/GPL that would render it anything other than a license. There are many examples of public licenses for copyrighted material; most of them simply add terms such as requiring identification of the source of the material; forbidding changes except for personal use (i.e., reserving from the license the right to make derivate works); granting the right to copy for noncommercial use only, etc. There is nothing in copyright case law to suggest that these (public) licenses are invalid.

    2. Under copyright case law, there is no requirement that a license of copyright be supported by consideration (compensation). This is because it is not a contract but a grant of property rights. Contracts require consideration, but grants do not. This is an elementary and well-settled principle of property law.

    3. In the United States, the Copyright Act of 1976 pre-empts all state law that previously dealt with intellectual property rights in the matter subject to the Act (as defined in Sections 102 of the Act). This was the explicit intent of Congress and has been repeatedly upheld by the courts. Therefore, any pre-existing state law that purported to modify the nature or terms of a license of copyright would be pre-empted, and any subsequent state law that did likewise would be inoperative. In either case, I doubt if the state law would operate in any case to render the Copyleft/GPL unenforceable, because it is a grant and not a contract."


    Mohring continues. "Note that in the same post Michael C. Berch also states:"

    "I don't understand what Mr. Klossner means by "The copyleft is not a license, it is the terms of a 'publication' in the parlance of copyright law"; in copyright law, a work is either published or not published, and if the work is not published, much of the Act does not apply. However, there is no doubt that the GNU programs are published within the meaning of the Act (section 101), so I don't know what the concept of "terms" is supposed to refer to here. I have been a frequent critic of FSF and the political and philosophical underpinnings of Project GNU, and more recently of Richard Stallman's attempts to use publicly-funded networks for partisan political advocacy, but I find nothing in the GNU Public License that would render it unenforceable under copyright law or federal or state common law."
    -- Michael C. Berch
    Member of the California Bar
    mcb@tis.llnl.gov / uunet!tis.llnl.gov!mcb

    In summary, Mohring says: "The GPL license has been scrutinized by the finest legal minds looking for loopholes and has still stood for over a decade. Even Microsoft, for whom the GPL is such an anathema, distribute the GPL licensed GCC compiler toolchain with interix/SFU, have chosen to abide by the terms of the GPL rather than to challenge it in court."

  • About Linux News Desk
    SYS-CON's Linux News Desk gathers stories, analysis, and information from around the Linux world and synthesizes them into an easy to digest format for IT/IS managers and other business decision-makers.

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    Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 2

    Thanks Daniel M. O'Mara! You have formulated the point that I was trying to make (rather clumsily) in very, shall we say, "self-sufficient" way. Therefore, I'll repeat it again:

    -------------------------------------------------
    Copyright law is not as much "self preempting" as it is "self sufficient" to allow the author of an original body of work to allow its modification and extension while protecting the underlying property.
    -------------------------------------------------

    BSDProtector has stated:

    " Also, the other concusion is that "multiple independent permissions of copyright holders" are sufficient to get authorization (i.e. license) to do something with the copyrighted work which would otherwise be prohibited by the Act. No contract between owners of copyright is required to do so."

    With which I agree entirely in the case of the GPL which in itself is a "pure permission" with respect to a body of copyright (in the cases in which it is generally applied bodies of source code which constitute "computer programs"). Since the preexisting work upon which derivatives are allowed to be created by the license are simply sufficient to be subject of copyright, the derivatives created by ammendment or extension under the license fall under the original license if distributed in that they incorporate in the large the original body of work. Copyright law is not ao much "self preempting" as it is "self sufficient" to allow the author of an original body of work to allow its modification and extension while protecting the underlying property.

    Simply put, theft of intellectual property is not allowed by the creator of some derivative by that allowed act of derivation and conversely theft of the intellectual property of the creator of the derivative is not permitted to the original author. Both must simply agree to the terms of the license under the derivative was authorized and the original body of work was distributed for further distribution to be legal. Copyright is simply a grant of monopoly rights to the author of an original "work of art".

    Does Copyright Act preempt itself?

    I was reading the Copyright Act again and found this in section 106:

    -----------------------------------------
    Subject to sections 107 through 122, the owner of
    copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to
    do and to *authorize* any of the following:
    -----------------------------------------

    Emphasis is mine, of course.

    Now, to authorize, what exactly does that mean (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=authorize):

    -----------------------------------------
    Synonyms: authorize, accredit, commission, empower,
    license

    These verbs mean to give someone the authority to
    act: authorized her partner to negotiate on her
    behalf; a representative who was accredited by his
    government; commissioned the real-estate agent to
    purchase the house; was empowered to make decisions
    during the president's absence; a pharmacist licensed
    to practice in two states.
    -----------------------------------------

    So, I take this to mean that "authorize" means "license". So, now we know that the owner of copyright has the explicit authority to license, as given by the Act.

    The next important questions are:

    1. Can an owner of copyright impose any conditions to this authorization or licensing?

    2. Can two owners of copyright give permission independently or do they have to create a contract in order to do so?

    Section 114, which relates to "Scope of exclusive rights in sound recordings", contains this text:

    -----------------------------------------
    (2) For licenses granted under section 106(6), other
    than statutory licenses, such as for performances by
    interactive services or performances that exceed the
    sound recording performance complement —

    (A) copyright owners of sound recordings affected by
    this section may designate common agents to act on
    their behalf to grant licenses and receive and remit
    royalty payments: Provided, That each copyright owner
    shall establish the royalty rates and material license
    terms and conditions unilaterally, that is, not in
    agreement, combination, or concert with other
    copyright owners of sound recordings; and
    -----------------------------------------

    First, the obvious thing here is that this Act explicity recognises the concept of "licenses granted under section 106(6)". I don't think that if licensing applies to 106(6) it wouldn't apply to the whole of 106. So, it is pretty safe to assume that a concept of licensing is something that does in fact apply here. Actually, it is explicity stated at the beginning of section 106. After all, "auhtorize" == "license".

    Second, note the wording of establishing conditions unilaterally and not in agreement with other copyright owners. Similar situation exists when it comes to derivative works - there are multiple owners. One would tend to conclude here that this Act in fact recogizes a possiblity of multiple unilateral "licenses" or "authorizations" without an agreement between those involved (i.e. without a binding legal form, contract).

    Third, note the wording of "conditions". This is absolutely recognised by this Act. It is also used in combination with "unilaterally" quite explicitly.

    What can we then conclude out of all this on the topic of "Copyright Act preempts itself"?

    First, "copyright license" is an "authorization" as specified by this Act and not a contract of any kind. This Act does not require any other laws for this authorization or licensing to be enforced.

    Second, because if the above "conditional licensing" recongition weren't the case, one would absolutely require a contract to enforce anything that has "conditions". Conditions would assume some sort of a promise, so this would then fall under the contracts law. This would then mean that in order to "authorize with conditions", as explicitly recognised here in the Act, one would need to employ a contract and therefore fall afoul of section 301 which deals with preemption when it comes to exclusive rights as set forward in section 106.

    Third, it would seem clear that it is explicitly allowed by the Act that multiple permissions of the owners of copyright be employed together and without an agreement between them, in order to achieve a complete permission to do something with the work.

    So, the logical conclusion would be that Copyright Act preempts itself if it requires some other state law in order for the exclusive rights, it (Copyright Act) exclusively governs, to be enforced. This is of course not possible, so the only interpretation available is that "authorization with conditions" or "licensing under conditions" is explicitly allowed by the Act.

    Also, the other concusion is that "multiple independent permissions of copyright holders" are sufficient to get authorization (i.e. license) to do something with the copyrighted work which would otherwise be prohibited by the Act. No contract between owners of copyright is required to do so.

    Mr. Wallace has stated:

    "Cite specific case, statute or other well settled legal
    authority and combine it with coherent, cogent logic.
    I shall be happy to retract at that time."

    Congress replied prior to his statement in US Code, Title 17, Paragraph 103:

    "The copyright in a compilation or derivative work extends only to the material contributed by the author of such work, as distinguished from the preexisting material employed in the work, and does not imply any exclusive right in the preexisting material. The copyright in such work is independent of, and does not affect or enlarge the scope, duration, ownership, or subsistence of, any copyright protection in the preexisting material."

    Congress was more than prompt in their response Mr. Wallace, where is yours?

    "I am prepared to wait until Hell freezes over for your answer."

    D. O'Mara

    I could be wrong too. It's just that the disclaimer at the beginning, the theme, the style of writing, the substance of the argument etc. all match.

    So, I'll reserve my right to retract, if you don't mind ;-)

    Well, that does seem a lot like him. I'm "happy to retract" my previous statement. It appears I may have been in error.

    DaveF, try this one:

    http://linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2003-08-15-025-26-OP-CY-0004

    It must be another retired physicist then...

    I cannot guarantee it, but the whole thing looks like Mr Wallace at his best :-)

    Well, there's no doubt whatsoever that danw6144 is Daniel Wallace. In one of his posts over there, he quotes his FSF associate member number as 1550, same as here.

    I'm not sure about gumout, though. There are similarities there, yes, but my gut tells me no. But, hey, I've been known to be wrong about such things before! :-)

    Interesting explanation. I wonder if Mr Wallace ever took time to read it:

    http://developerslab.org/print.php?sid=328

    Hi Daniel M. O'Mara,

    I have to disagree with you here. I think we'll hear plenty more from Mr Wallace.

    Actually, I think he's been posting similar arguments on Linux Today (as gumout) and on LWN (as danw6144 - probably his birthday). I have no proof of that, but the content of the posts is strikingly similar... It would be nice to have some confirmation from Mr Wallace.

    One of the better (read: more funny) theories of "gumout" is that Linux is a joint work. As such, all authors have equal copyritght in it. Therefore, SCO can publish it under a proprietary license, but it cannot stop other copyright holders from doing it under any other license.

    A funny side effect of that would be this. I contribute a file to Linux. Therefore, I gain full copyright to it. Then I take JFS, for instance, and publish it under some proprietary license.

    Does anyone in their right mind believe IBM wouldn't be all over me?

    Hi BSDProtector,

    I'm assuming that he's dead. Perhaps we needn't bother waiting for a response.

    I'm also cerrtain that his lack of problems with the BSD license are the same as MuckroSoft's

    Dan O'Mara

    (Still waiting...)

    Mr Wallace commented:

    "Until that event occurs, I stand by my legal citations
    and the logic used to reach my lay conclusions:

    1) The GPL is unequivocally a contract.
    2) It's preempted by copyright law."

    Now, I've been pounding this for a while and I know I'm getting boring to some people (sorry). Nevertheless, following your logic, one may claim this:

    1) The BSD license is unequivocally a contract.
    2) It's preempted by copyright law.

    Point 1 you have already conceded in one of your previous posts that it is the case:

    "An original author can ask to place restrictions on
    another's exclusive rights if he agrees (has privity).
    This conditions distribution of derivative works with
    authors in "privity"."

    You've also said that every license is a contract, so we can safely say here that BSD license is a contract for sure. So far, so good. BSD license is definitely a contract. The conditions established in that privity are binding to all recipients of this work, forever. The "universal privity" is the term you used for that. I urge you to read the text of the BSD license again - the terms are self-perpetuating, or as you'd like to put it, the conditions are demanded "ad infinitum". It is not important that those recipients can use another license (i.e. add more conditions if they so wish) - what is important is that they are bound by those same terms.

    Out of all this, you conclude that BSD license then must be OK. How and why is that?

    Also note here that almost every license works this way. The purpose of the "ad infinitum" thing is the protection of the "original work" inside those derivatives, to which original author has, without any doubt, exclusive rights. Actually, without such self-perpetuating clauses, most licenses are completely worthless.

    I'm willing to agree with you that every license is a contract (although I don't believe this to be true) for the purposes of this discussion. Would you care to explain one last time, why is it that when BSD license tries to establish "universal privity" that is OK, and when GPL attempts the same thing, it is not?

    Mr. Wallace

    Your statement was: "happy to retract".

    I am waiting.

    Once again, Mr. Wallace since I tire of you:

    Title 17 paragraph 103 states:

    "The copyright in a compilation or derivative work extends only to the material contributed by the author of such work, as distinguished from the preexisting material employed in the work, and does not imply any exclusive right in the preexisting material. The copyright in such work is independent of, and does not affect or enlarge the scope, duration, ownership, or subsistence of, any copyright protection in the preexisting material."

    What other well settled legal authority than the people of the United States in Congress asseembled do you require to make clear to you your misunderstandings? Your happiness to retract nonsense is highly suspect. Do you misunderstand "does not affect" or are you willfully obstreperous in your ignorance of the law?

    "3. (More than) one attorney says you're wrong...
    'Now, I'm not certain of what path physicists typically
    follow when trying to argue their claims but, as a
    scientist in another discipline, I'm pretty sure that
    this is not it.'"

    Physicists rely on the scientific method. They
    use demonstrable facts and reliance upon principles of
    inductive and deductive logic.

    Apparently one attorney, whose path I suspect crosses
    another blog weighing in on this controversy, has
    endeavored, without cite to specific case, statute or
    other well settled legal authority attempted to
    rhetoricaly contravene my arguments.

    I have observed that about half of all attorneys who
    represent parties in a lawsuit, will end up representing
    the losing side.

    If SCO's attorneys are given your presumption that
    all their representations are infallible, then IBM and
    Linux are in big trouble.

    Cite specific case, statute or other well settled legal
    authority and combine it with coherent, cogent logic.
    I shall be happy to retract at that time.

    Until that event occurs, I stand by my legal citations
    and the logic used to reach my lay conclusions:

    1) The GPL is unequivocally a contract.
    2) It's preempted by copyright law.


    Feedback Pages:


    Your Feedback
    BSDProtector wrote: Thanks Daniel M. O'Mara! You have formulated the point that I was trying to make (rather clumsily) in very, shall we say, "self-sufficient" way. Therefore, I'll repeat it again: ------------------------------------------------- Copyright law is not as much "self preempting" as it is "self sufficient" to allow the author of an original body of work to allow its modification and extension while protecting the underlying property. -------------------------------------------------
    Daniel M. O'Mara wrote: BSDProtector has stated: " Also, the other concusion is that "multiple independent permissions of copyright holders" are sufficient to get authorization (i.e. license) to do something with the copyrighted work which would otherwise be prohibited by the Act. No contract between owners of copyright is required to do so." With which I agree entirely in the case of the GPL which in itself is a "pure permission" with respect to a body of copyright (in the cases in which it is generally applied bodies of source code which constitute "computer programs"). Since the preexisting work upon which derivatives are allowed to be created by the license are simply sufficient to be subject of copyright, the derivatives created by ammendment or extension under the license fall under the original license if distributed in that they incorporate in the large the original body of work. Copyright la...
    BSDProtector wrote: Does Copyright Act preempt itself? I was reading the Copyright Act again and found this in section 106: ----------------------------------------- Subject to sections 107 through 122, the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to *authorize* any of the following: ----------------------------------------- Emphasis is mine, of course. Now, to authorize, what exactly does that mean (http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=authorize): ----------------------------------------- Synonyms: authorize, accredit, commission, empower, license These verbs mean to give someone the authority to act: authorized her partner to negotiate on her behalf; a representative who was accredited by his government; commissioned the real-estate agent to purchase the house; was empowered to make decisions during the president's absence; a pharmacist li...
    Daniel M. O'Mara wrote: Mr. Wallace has stated: "Cite specific case, statute or other well settled legal authority and combine it with coherent, cogent logic. I shall be happy to retract at that time." Congress replied prior to his statement in US Code, Title 17, Paragraph 103: "The copyright in a compilation or derivative work extends only to the material contributed by the author of such work, as distinguished from the preexisting material employed in the work, and does not imply any exclusive right in the preexisting material. The copyright in such work is independent of, and does not affect or enlarge the scope, duration, ownership, or subsistence of, any copyright protection in the preexisting material." Congress was more than prompt in their response Mr. Wallace, where is yours? "I am prepared to wait until Hell freezes over for your answer." D. O'Mara
    BSDProtector wrote: I could be wrong too. It's just that the disclaimer at the beginning, the theme, the style of writing, the substance of the argument etc. all match. So, I'll reserve my right to retract, if you don't mind ;-)
    DaveF wrote: Well, that does seem a lot like him. I'm "happy to retract" my previous statement. It appears I may have been in error.
    BSDProtector wrote: DaveF, try this one: http://linuxtoday.com/news_story.php3?ltsn=2003-08-15-025-26-OP-CY-0004 It must be another retired physicist then... I cannot guarantee it, but the whole thing looks like Mr Wallace at his best :-)
    DaveF wrote: Well, there's no doubt whatsoever that danw6144 is Daniel Wallace. In one of his posts over there, he quotes his FSF associate member number as 1550, same as here. I'm not sure about gumout, though. There are similarities there, yes, but my gut tells me no. But, hey, I've been known to be wrong about such things before! :-)
    BSDProtector wrote: Interesting explanation. I wonder if Mr Wallace ever took time to read it: http://developerslab.org/print.php?sid=328
    BSDProtector wrote: Hi Daniel M. O'Mara, I have to disagree with you here. I think we'll hear plenty more from Mr Wallace. Actually, I think he's been posting similar arguments on Linux Today (as gumout) and on LWN (as danw6144 - probably his birthday). I have no proof of that, but the content of the posts is strikingly similar... It would be nice to have some confirmation from Mr Wallace. One of the better (read: more funny) theories of "gumout" is that Linux is a joint work. As such, all authors have equal copyritght in it. Therefore, SCO can publish it under a proprietary license, but it cannot stop other copyright holders from doing it under any other license. A funny side effect of that would be this. I contribute a file to Linux. Therefore, I gain full copyright to it. Then I take JFS, for instance, and publish it under some proprietary license. Does anyone in their right mind believe I...
    Daniel M. O'Mara wrote: Hi BSDProtector, I'm assuming that he's dead. Perhaps we needn't bother waiting for a response. I'm also cerrtain that his lack of problems with the BSD license are the same as MuckroSoft's Dan O'Mara (Still waiting...)
    BSDProtector wrote: Mr Wallace commented: "Until that event occurs, I stand by my legal citations and the logic used to reach my lay conclusions: 1) The GPL is unequivocally a contract. 2) It's preempted by copyright law." Now, I've been pounding this for a while and I know I'm getting boring to some people (sorry). Nevertheless, following your logic, one may claim this: 1) The BSD license is unequivocally a contract. 2) It's preempted by copyright law. Point 1 you have already conceded in one of your previous posts that it is the case: "An original author can ask to place restrictions on another's exclusive rights if he agrees (has privity). This conditions distribution of derivative works with authors in "privity"." You've also said that every license is a contract, so we can safely say here that BSD license is a contract for sure. So far, so good. BSD license is definitely a co...
    Daniel M. O'Mara wrote: Mr. Wallace Your statement was: "happy to retract". I am waiting.
    Daniel M. O'Mara wrote: Once again, Mr. Wallace since I tire of you: Title 17 paragraph 103 states: "The copyright in a compilation or derivative work extends only to the material contributed by the author of such work, as distinguished from the preexisting material employed in the work, and does not imply any exclusive right in the preexisting material. The copyright in such work is independent of, and does not affect or enlarge the scope, duration, ownership, or subsistence of, any copyright protection in the preexisting material." What other well settled legal authority than the people of the United States in Congress asseembled do you require to make clear to you your misunderstandings? Your happiness to retract nonsense is highly suspect. Do you misunderstand "does not affect" or are you willfully obstreperous in your ignorance of the law?
    Daniel Wallace wrote: "3. (More than) one attorney says you're wrong... 'Now, I'm not certain of what path physicists typically follow when trying to argue their claims but, as a scientist in another discipline, I'm pretty sure that this is not it.'" Physicists rely on the scientific method. They use demonstrable facts and reliance upon principles of inductive and deductive logic. Apparently one attorney, whose path I suspect crosses another blog weighing in on this controversy, has endeavored, without cite to specific case, statute or other well settled legal authority attempted to rhetoricaly contravene my arguments. I have observed that about half of all attorneys who represent parties in a lawsuit, will end up representing the losing side. If SCO's attorneys are given your presumption that all their representations are infallible, then IBM and Linux are in big troub...
    DaveF wrote: Mr Wallace said: "The disclaimer says don't rely on my conclusions for legal advice... go check with a competent attorney." Well, that's been done and it turns out you were wrong. Would you like to address that point? Mr Wallace said: "This is only fair to the editors of LinixWorld and its readers. It also clarifies that I purport to represent only myself and no other party. To purport to legal advocacy on behalf another party is the unauthorized practice of law. There I shall not venture." No, it simply can not be that you were motivated by magnanimity to LinuxWorld and to its readers when you wrote that. Had that been the case, you would have said something more akin to "Of course, since I am not a lawyer, I could be wrong about this." No, the words you chose were clearly designed to lend an air of credibility to what you wrote. You said "a quick check" thereby suggesti...
    BSDProtector wrote: Dan O'Mara, Mr Wallace's arguments are similar to that of an illegal search. You go into someone's house without any legal authority and find something incriminating. Then you use that in court to prove something, which is of course not allowed, because you had no legal ground to do the search in the first place. You cannot put the cart in front of the horse. The same analogy can be applied here. The contributing author *gains* some rights through original authors *permission* by accepting his conditions (it is irrelevant here if Mr Wallace wants to call this a contract or not). But then the contributing author says: "Hey, these rights are exclusive, you cannot impose conditions on them." He conveniently forgets the fact that without the initial permission he's got no rights - ABSOLUTELY NONE. And that is just one of the completely illogical arguments that Mr Wallace puts in fro...
    Dan O'Mara wrote: Mr Wallace states: "There are two exclusive permissions involved in allowing a derivative work to be reproduced. The "preexisting" author's permission and the "modifying" author's permission. Each must agree to provide the waiver of a legal right. This is the same thing as saying an agreement of "sufficient consideration for a promise" from both parties." which makes no sense. In the production of a derivative work the permission of the author or authors of the underlying body of copyright is the only necessary and sufficient permission. In that the result is a "substantially new work" under copyright law, the permission of all authors of the resultant work is necessary for further distribution or the creation of further compilations or derivatives. The GPL is what provides the legal basis and framework for such work to proceed. Mr Wallace further states: "The GPL requir...
    BSDProtector wrote: Mr Wallace commented: "The disclaimer says don't rely on my conclusions for legal advice... go check with a competent attorney." The question I have is this: did you? Did you check with a competent attorney Mr Wallace? It seems to me that this issue has been addressed by competent attorneys many times (Moglen, Lessig, Rosen, Santander etc.) and they all seem to be saying the same thing - as a copyright license, GPL is absolutely solid. The only lawyer that does have a problem with it is Heise, the one that's representing SCO. Now, I don't know this man, but from what he was saying just recently in front of judge Wells, I'd say he isn't all that competent... Can you show us an example of a competent lawyer outside the SCO circus that actually believes that GPL is invalid? And before you answer this, let me remind you that Darl McBride was asked about the GPL at MIT and how is...
    Daniel Wallace wrote: "Mr Wallace, when you said that "A quick check by a competent attorney... will quickly confirm the accuracy of these conclusions..." When Mr. Wallace said those words it was for good purpose. He wanted to inform the editors at LinuxWorld that he was not a qualified or practicing attorney. The disclaimer says don't rely on my conclusions for legal advice... go check with a competent attorney. This is only fair to the editors of LinixWorld and its readers. It also clarifies that I purport to represent only myself and no other party. To purport to legal advocacy on behalf another party is the unauthorized practice of law. There I shall not venture. On seeing this disclaimer, it is at once apparent that I am not an attorney and that reliance my e-mailed Letter to the Editor should be checked with competent counsel.
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