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Re: GPL/LGPL confusion

On Mon, Jul 02, 2001 at 03:52:26AM -0700, Adam J. Richter wrote:
> 	Suppose you create a GPL'ed program and it includes a file
> whose copyright is owned by MIT and was covered by the
> (GPL-compatible) MIT X11 terms.  Someone else could still extract that
> (unmodified) file from the GPL'ed source tree and use it under the MIT
> X11 terms in some GPL-violating way, and not be infringing any
> copyrights. You have no copyright ownership of that file, and MIT has
> already given permission for everyone to use it under the MIT X11
> terms.

You know, I think we've been looking at this wrong.

Saying "you can't relicense" is just wrong. You can relicense things quite
often, that's how lots of proprietry software ends up getting distributed
(you license your technology to someone, they include it in their product
and sublicense it out to their customers). It's why licenses include the
restriction that you can't sublicense.

What you've really got is a file of code, copyright by someone, that
you are able to use/modify/distribute under either of two licenses:
MIT/X11 as licensed to you by the original author, and the GPL, as
sublicensed to you (under the terms of the MIT/X11 license -- check
it out, it specifically grants you permission to do this) by whoever
included it in whatever other program.

> 	Your right to copy a piece of content comes from the
> permissions granted to you by the owners of its copyrights, not by
> intermediaries who have no actual copyright interest or authorization
> to act as an agent for the copyright owners.

That's only true if the original copyright holders didn't specifically
give you permission to sublicense in their copyright license though...


Anthony Towns <aj@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
I don't speak for anyone save myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

``_Any_ increase in interface difficulty, in exchange for a benefit you
  do not understand, cannot perceive, or don't care about, is too much.''
                      -- John S. Novak, III (The Humblest Man on the Net)

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