February 21, 2010

It sounds like the correct answer to the legal question

Filed under: Law, Railways, Technology — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 19:07

It’s surprising that a dispute over the use of open source software in a model railway application would be the one to set the legal precedent, but that is what happened here:

Although some people viewed it as a tempest in a teapot, the long-running legal case Jacobsen v. Katzer stirred up some seminal open source issues. We first reported on the dust-up all the way back in August of 2008, noting that the dispute centered around — of all things — model train software.

Specifically, Jacobsen had developed JMRI, the Java Model Railroad Interface project. When Katzer built the code for the project into proprietary model train software, deleting existing copyright notices within the code, Jacobsen filed suit. Now, settlement documents are available online, and the end of the dispute points to a final victory for open source licenses.

The settlement documents show that Katzer will pay Jacobsen $100,000 over 18 months, cease using the JMRI code, and not attempt to register domains using the JMRI name. Previously, the legal dispute had gone all the way to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which is the last legal stop before the Supreme Court. As Lawrence Lessig noted in a post, when the Court of Appeals upheld the Artistic License that governed the use of JMRI, it was “an important victory” for free licenses. Lessig noted that the decision had broad implications for many open source licenses.

Just because someone allows the use of source code freely does not mean you can, in effect, file off the serial numbers and pretend that it’s all your own work . . .

H/T to Craig Zeni for the link.

Sports bulletin: Canada defeats US 16-2 in hockey

Filed under: Cancon, Military, Sports, USA — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 12:36

But that’s not the Olympic match-up, that’s in Kandahar:

“Half of our team is in Iraq” was one of the good-natured excuses offered by U.S. troops to explain Canada’s 16-2 victory over the United States in a ball-hockey game on Sunday that had all the passion, but none of the drama, expected of the Olympic ice hockey tilt between the two countries later in the day in Vancouver.

The lopsided score was a fair indication of the play before a crowd of nearly 1,000 often deliriously happy soldiers at the smartly laid out ball-hockey rink that Canada built at Kandahar Airfield in 2006.

Honestly taken aback by a Canadian offer to balance the game by swapping a few players when the score stood 10-1 in Canada’s favour, U.S. army Col. Mark Murray, invoked the immortal words of Gen. Anthony McAuliffe, commander of the 101st Airborne, who responded to a Nazi ultimatum to surrender during the Battle of the Bulge, by replying: “Nuts! It will be a cold day in hell before we do that.”

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