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Re: Modifying the GPL2?

On Thu, Dec 27, 2001 at 01:22:56PM +0000, Karl E. Jorgensen wrote:
> I've written and packaged eurospeak (www.karl.jorgensen.com/eurospeak),
> and I'd like to include a "eurospeakised" version of the GNU Public
> License (version 2).

Why would you like to do it?  Just as an example, or as the actual license
itself?  The former I could understand, but any other text would do it, too. 
The latter I can only discourage you from, because it would be very
difficult to judge its legal status (not as a derivative of the GPL, that
part is clear, but its legal status as a license written in something that
is not a even an official language in any country!).

In other words, the joke is okay, but don't overdraw it by a license in
eurospeak.  It might make an interesting case for a law student, but it
would be very impractical for hackers like us :)

> But the GPL-2 does not allow for modifications of the license itself.

Indeed.  Note that the license contains several parts, the preamble, the
conditions, and the note how to apply it.  You can write a new license that
contains the same or similar conditions, but you can not just copy the whole
of the GPL and change parts of it.

> 2) Include the eurospeak-ised version of the GPL-2, but call it something
>    else. I presume that this will make the license a "derived work" of
>    the GPL-2. Will that be legal?

> 3) Give up on eurospeak-ising the GPL-2 and include the "normal" GPL-2.

Yes, please.
> On a related note: If my interpretation of the GPL-2 is correct, then
> the license itself does not follow the DFSG, as the license does not
> allow for modifications of itself. Surely I must be mistaken here, 
> but where did I go wrong?

Correct.  We just accept that.  Nothing in the GPL can prevent you from
applying the same or similar conditions on your software (copyright can not
be used to prevent writing a copyright), however, the GPL contains more than
the conditions.

For details about the "GPL doesn't meet DFSG", see past threads on
debian-legal and debian-policy.


`Rhubarb is no Egyptian god.' Debian http://www.debian.org brinkmd@debian.org
Marcus Brinkmann              GNU    http://www.gnu.org    marcus@gnu.org

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