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Re: Do I have to release the patch for a GPL software under GPL?

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: Do I have to release the patch for a GPL software under GPL?
Date: Wed, 10 May 2006 18:48:40 +0200

Byron A Jeff wrote:
> However, your original post was questioning the ability to relicense a
> distributed patch for GPL software. That's a horse of a completely different
> color. In that case you are precisely talking about distribution, and so the
> full weight of the GPL is in effect.

Distribution under 17 USC 109 aside for a moment, the GPL has no weight 
whatsoever for a patch that isn't an copy or a derivative work of some 
GPL'd original. And it must be infringing (in absence of a license). It 
means that a patch must contain some protected (under copyright law) 
expression (i.e. elements not filtered out by the AFC test) from the 
GPL'd original. Note that mere references to original code don't count 
as protected elements. It is not that hard to create a patch where no 
protected expression is taken from the original at all, or at least 
separate a patch into GPL'd and GPL-free components.


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