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Licensing question about the GPL

From: Steve
Subject: Licensing question about the GPL
Date: Mon, 01 Aug 2005 18:51:06 -0400
User-agent: Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0.2 (Windows/20050317)

I'm involved in a discussion about the GPL and dual-licensing... situations like the Qt library where software is licensed under the GPL, but can be licensed for a fee under different terms for usage outside the parameters of the GPL.
I've heard this used as a counterargument against the claim that GPL is a "viral" license (I don't use that term in a derogatory way, I thought that was the whole point to the GPL!). However, the argument that I've heard states a copyright owner of GPL'ed software is able to dual-license that software, period. Is that really the case, universally?

What about if your software is GPL'ed because it includes other GPL'ed software? It seems to me that in such a situation, you would be required to obtain alternate-licensing from that other software's copyright owner... who in turn would have to first obtain an alternate license for any GPL code that THEY had used, an so forth. It doesn't seem logical to me that I could take the GCC codebase, make some changes, call it NCC ("New Compiler Collection"), and then dual-license it for proprietary use without first getting permission from Stallman or the FSF or whoever.

Is my understanding incorrect, and one CAN dual-license any GPL'ed work (even a derived work)... or is it rather the case that you can only dual-license a GPL'ed work if you are the ORIGINAL copyright owner of all GPL'ed components (or have their permission)?
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