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Re: webmin license

Seth David Schoen wrote:
> The clearest way to show that the GPL can't be amended by the simple
> expedient of imposing discriminatory restrictions on a program from the
> outset  is to look at all the places in which the GPL talks about
> distributors' obligations with respect to "this License".
> 	You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in
> 	whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any
> 	part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third
> 	parties under the terms of this License. [...]

This bothers me; it seems to overlook the fact that a work that "in part
contains or is derived..." will as a rule not as a whole be copyright of any
one person, and therefore cannot as a whole have any one licence attached to
it. Most likely several parts will have different copyrights, and even in the
unlikely case that all copyright owners elect to distribute under the GPL, it
would not seems accurate to say that "the work is licensed as a whole under
the terms of the GPL". Given this rather dictatorial (or contagious, if you
like) aspect of the GPL, the question becomes important what constitutes a
"work". If one considers anything distributed or published as a coherent
ensemble, such as a Debian distribution, to be a work, then anyone can see
that one get into serious trouble!

Marc van Leeuwen
Universite de Poitiers

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