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Re: freedomization task list [was: Re: Dangerous precedent being

Jeff Teunissen wrote
> Henning Makholm wrote:
> > tb@MIT.EDU (Thomas Bushnell, BSG) writes:
> > 
> > > All the owner can take back is the promise as it applies to new
> > > copies.
> > 
> > That is bad enough as it is. It means that once the owner changes his
> > mind, we lose the right to make and distribute new modifications:
> > I might still have the right to make one modified copy of the work,
> > but I don't have any right to copy that one copy further.
> Unless I miss my mark, it means that the assumptions we've made on the
> legality of free software are correct. The author cannot change the
> license on code you already have; if he does change the license on new
> versions, you still have a free version and can fork a new project out of
> it. And yes, that means you still have the ability to make copies of that
> source, because the license you received the code under allowed you to
> copy and modify it as many times as you want.

I agree. One question occurs to me though: what exactly changes for somebody
with a previously made copy when the copyright is transferred? I suppose this
means that the copyright on the copy has a different owner, but the licence
does not change; the only thing that changes is that if he violates the
(original) licence he can now be sued by the new copyright owner.

This question came up because I am often forced to transfer copyright to
journals when they publish articles, and they tend to place draconic
restrictions on further distribution (particularly electronically) of the
paper, even by myself. May I conclude that if I make sure to distribute the
paper with a liberal licence (maybe even GPL) prior to transferring the
copyright, they cannot enforce their measures, provided I make sure that
everything publically distributed is based on copied made before the transfer?

Marc van Leeuwen
Universite de Poitiers

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