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Re: Question about license legality

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: Question about license legality
Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2007 20:32:34 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.0.96 (gnu/linux)

Geico Caveman <spammers-go-here@spam.invalid> writes:

> Are the following license terms legal / legally enforceable for some code I
> am thinking of giving to a few friends :
> "License : Currently closed source, will be released under draft
> GPLv3 currently under discussion at FSF.

That is nonsense.  "will be released under draft GPLv3" means
releasing under a draft, but not the final version.  "currently under
discussion" restricts this to a particular version of the draft
without even specifying it.

"will be released" is not a license at all.  It is an announcement of
intent.  As such, it is utterly irrelevant for the actual current

> The expectation is that the released code will be used and
> distributed in ways compliant with the ultimate GPLv3 license after
> that license is finalized. The author expressedly considers GPLv2 to
> be inadequate protection for this work and disallows its use under
> that or any other license except GPLv3. Until the GPLv3 license is
> finalized, this work may be treated as proprietary. You may not in
> that case distribute this work.  All rights reserved.  To summarize
> conditions of use / distribution : Before GPLv3 is finalized - open
> source but proprietary. You may not distribute this code without the
> author's explicit permission for each such act of distribution and
> you must retain this notice in any distributed code. You may not
> modify this code, even for personal use, without informing the
> author of the changes.  After GPLv3 is finalized - this is open
> source under the terms of GPLv3."
> ?

GPLv3 talks about "free software", not "open source".  And licensing
terms need to be specified.

I'd cut most of the drivel.  Something like the following might work,
but I am quite doubtful about a license that asks people to wait until
they know the terms.

    This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or
    modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as
    published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 3 of the
    License, or (at your option) any later version.  If no such
    license exists yet, redistribution requires an individual license.

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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