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Re: GPL misappropriation

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: GPL misappropriation
Date: Tue, 04 May 2010 16:10:01 -0000

Hey stupid dak, here's a nice post on sublicensing. Hth.
(IANAL, but I actually agree with Theo)

"... Here are specific points I would make:

1) While the BSDL and related licenses clearly do not have the intent to
force sharing of code, they clearly *do* have the intent to provide the
downstream recipients of the original elements of that code with the
rights listed in the license. So Theo is right that you cannot simply
wrap the BSDL in the GPL.

This is particularly relevant to the GPL3 because it introduces
potential license incompatibilities between BSDL-code and GPL3 code (see
section 7 on removing additional permissions *without* asserting

2) Copyright law seems even in the US holds that nonexclusive licenses
are clearly indivisible and do not automatically grant sublicense rights
(a sublicense being a new license issued by a licensee). Some BSD-like
licenses (like the MIT License) explicitly allow sublicensing the code
and in this case, wrapping it in the GPL would be allowed. Otherwise, it
seems difficult to make this case. Whether exclusive licenses are
divisible is not yet a settle matter of law as far as I can tell (you
have the Gardner v. Nike case which suggests that they exclusive
licenses are indivisible, but that is the only case I can find).

BTW, Mr Moglen dismisses the above issue without providing any
substantive argument against it.

3) Some BSD-like licenses seem to be addressed to all downstream users
and do not include the right to sublicense. The ICU licnese, for
example, and the X.Org licenses start out "Permission is hereby granted,
free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and
associated documentation files..." and does not specifically state a
sublicensing right.

Thus I am not sure that the advice that these can be automatically
sublicensed under the GPL is advice that is sound.

For these reasons, I have been suggesting that open source project
leaders should seek unbiased legal advice from people outside the
community. "


P.S. "I'm insufficiently motivated to go set up a GNU/Linux system 
so that I can do the builds."

Hyman Rosen <> The Silliest GPL 'Advocate'

P.P.S. "Of course correlation implies causation! Without this 
fundamental principle, no science would ever make any progress."

Hyman Rosen <> The Silliest GPL 'Advocate'

(GNG is a derecursive recursive derecursion which pwns GNU since it can 
be infinitely looped as GNGNGNGNG...NGNGNG... and can be said backwards 
too, whereas GNU cannot.)

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