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Re: Effect of transfer of copyright on free software licenses?

From: Hallvard B Furuseth
Subject: Re: Effect of transfer of copyright on free software licenses?
Date: Tue, 21 Jul 2009 17:21:42 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.2 (gnu/linux)

Tim Smith writes:
> Suppose I create a copyrighted work. I release it under a license
> such as GPLv2. You use it, in a way that requires permission of the
> copyright holder, but is in accord with GPLv2, so you are OK.
> Suppose now that I transfer the copyright to someone else.
> Do you now have something to worry about if the copyright assignee
> wishes to stop you from copying, modifying, and distributing the
> software?

In practice I might have - over time:

The user community move away from the version I have.  I no longer get
bugfixes and upgrades.  Operating systems moves on, so eventually the
program may malfunction, dependent on obsolete features.  Compilers get
more aggressive, optimizing code which "always worked before" but was
not actually correct.  Eventually the program may not even compile.

Or maybe someone forks the program with the old licence, part of the
user community stays, and all is well.

So the answer depends on a lot of things, from timeframe to program
complexity and dependencies, to the quality of the code.


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