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Re: Is XEmacs nonfree?

On Thu, Sep 30, 1999 at 10:10:54AM +0200, Stephane Bortzmeyer wrote:
> It is very ancient rms' opinion: the FSF asks you to yield the copyright to 
> them, because they fear the GPL is not a sufficient warranty, before a court. 

No, they just know that only the copyright owner can sue for copyright
infingement.  They want to be able to defend GNU code in court, and
that means that they must be able to sue, which means they must own
the copyright.

It is also possible to sign a copyright disclaimer, effectively putting
the code in the public domain; this is acceptable for GNU code.

> They think that, if someone keeps the copyright, he could switch a GPL 
> software to proprietary.

No they don't.  The FSF copyright transfer gives (IIRC) the author a
unrestricted and unrevocable license to the code.

> In essence, it means you should blindly trust the FSF 

The FSF copyright assignment papers restrict FSF so that they can only
license the code as free software.

In any case, this is not a case of trust.

> For the man page of emacsclient (less than a page in print!), I had to send a 
> signed paper document to the FSF giving up my copyright :-( (BTW, in France, 
> and in most European countries, this will not be accepted.)

Can you elaborate on that?  Why is the FSF copyright transfer invalid
in Europe?  (AFAIK, although IANAL, copyright transfer is a valid
procedure everywhere.)

> Apart from rms, everybody thinks that a program can be GPL even if the 
> copyright does not belong to the FSF. The Linux kernel, for instance, whose 
> copyright is from its many contributors.

The problem is not whether something can be GPL even though FSF didn't own
the copyright.  In fact, the GNU project *encourages* people to use GPL in
their own programs, and does not even suggest a copyright transfer to FSF.

Please stop spreading FUD like this.

> >   worked on XEmacs have not provided, and have not asked other
> >   contributors to provide, the legal papers to help us enforce the
> >   GPL. 
> Pure FUD.

No it isn't.

%%% Antti-Juhani Kaijanaho % gaia@iki.fi % http://www.iki.fi/gaia/ %%%

                             (John Cage)

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