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Microsoft vs Free Software Foundation

Cornered, Microsoft tries to say they don’t have to abide by the GPL3 license.

Lewis A. Mettler is an attorney who often comments on Open Source issues. In this article he’s explaining the use of the word believe when used by an attorney. Which is a direct response to Microsoft’s statement that they do not believe they have to follow GPL3.

He states:

“But, the B word was used by Microsoft and I do feel you need to understand under which circumstances lawyers use such terms. Their statement was:

“We do not believe that Microsoft needs a license under GPL to carry out any aspects of its collaboration with Novell, including its distribution of support certificates, even if Novell chooses to distribute GPL3 code in the future. “

I trimmed off the second part of that statement which you may read in my other article here.

But, I wanted to focus upon the use of the term “believe” when it comes from a lawyer. Of course they wanted to deny what they might refer to as the negative. But, they could have used other terms like “We do not think…”, etc.

Why did they use “We do not believe”?

Actually it is interesting and relates to how that term is used in religion as well as the courtroom. In most religions, the term “believe” relates to something that they can not prove but have to accept for one reason or another. And they normally have to do with miracles and all sorts of other stuff.

In the courtroom it is a true weasel word. ”

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