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Re: the GNU GPL, and dual-licensing

On Fri, 2002-05-31 at 15:34, Glenn Maynard wrote:
> On Wed, May 15, 2002 at 12:23:38PM -0500, Branden Robinson wrote:
> > In short, *any* addition or subtraction to the license terms of the GPL
> > made by an author is an act of "dual-licensing".  A copyright holder
> > can, of course, cease distributing a work under the terms of the GNU GPL
> > if that is incompatible with a larger licensing strategy.
> Does this apply to the software at
>    http://www.physics.ucla.edu/~grosenth/jfc.html
> where the author puts the software under the GPL, and then (separately)
> says: 
> "Whenever a specific copyright notice conflicts with the GNU General
> Public License, the specific copyright provision(s) will take precedence
> over the GNU General Public License. 
> No part(s) of JFC may be included in any commercial product, nor may any
> commercial product include portion(s) derived from part(s) of JFC,
> without the explicit permission of the respective copyright holder(s)."

The software is clearly in the same legal morass as KDE was, only more
so.  He includes Jim Breen's data in his program, which as I recall has
been discussed here before and is non-free.  By itself, that contradicts
the GPL.

On top of that, he issues contradictory statements about the licensing. 
The program is supposedly free to be used, distributed, and modified for
any purpose, without the possibility of limitation (section 6 of the
GPL); on the other hand, no one may use it for commercial purposes.  

It's not clear what rights he has granted.  By one interpretation, he
could have created a "hybrid license", with the noncommercial clause
inserted into the GPL.  The problem with this is his comment about the
license for any part overriding the rest; by this statement, either
there's the potential that each file has a different subset of the GPL's
rights (meaning that all their licenses conflict with each other by
section 6), or that you have to take the aggregate of all the licenses
as the total license of the whole (meaning that there is no single
license statement to agree to).

His blurb about what "all this basically means" indicates that he is
likely confused.  He's probably never read the GPL, and has used it only
because it's a "hip" license.

> (This program has a larger problem: many source files start with the text
> //  JFC Copyright (C) Glenn Rosenthal, 1999,2000,2001.               //
> //  All rights reserved.                                             //
> which is contradictory, but that's a different issue.)

Not necessarily.  It would be better if he put a specific license in the
source files themselves, but as long as you receive the source in a
tarball with a valid license granted, you should be OK.

Whether you have a valid license in this case is a different question.

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