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Re: forbidding later version of GPL for xsoldier

Glenn Maynard <g_dlegal@zewt.org>:

> Clause 9 seems pretty straightforward: if the copyright holder has
> decided to allow it, you can use later versions of the license for his
> code.  It doesn't say that if he has given permission to allow this, you
> can freely remove this permission from forks.  It almost seems the
> opposite; if the copyright holder allows the version choice, and you
> choose GPLv2, then clause 9 says that the permission remains.  The
> Program says "version 2 or later", you chose version 2, and version 2
> says "... and people can continue to choose versions".
> Of course, I could be far off here--dual licensing gets messy--but if I
> am, I'd like to know how.

It doesn't really matter, because even if you could change the
licence, anyone would be free to search out an older copy of the code
where the licence had not been changed, and even you couldn't change
the licence, you could make additions and modifications that are
licensed uner GPLv2 only, thereby making the entire work GPLv2 in
effect. So I don't suppose anyone really cares what the legal status
is of taking someone's code, deleting the phrase "or any later
version" and redistributing.

If GPLv2 does turn out to have a loophole that is closed in GPLv3, I
would guess a lot of projects will be doing global replaces of "GPLv2
or later" with "GPLv3 or later", but they won't be doing just that
change: they will change the licence of code that is under active
development with the current contributors preferring the new licence,
so the change will be justified.

> > As an aside, there is precedent for a common licensee relicensing code, 
> > ironically perpetrated by GPL-devotees, most often on BSD licensed code. 
> > In fact, I submit that since the GPL is the most-often-switched-to license 
> > when there's a licensing switch, there is a very real, however very small, 
> > portion of code that was never intended to be GPL'd that is now relicensed 
> > under the GPL, often by people with no more status than that of common 
> > licensee WRT the code in question.
> I could agree with David Starner that this is "rude", but aside from
> thta, it's not the same thing: you're adding restrictions to the BSD
> license (which that license does not prohibit) to make it the GPL.
> The GPL license prohibits adding extra restrictions.

The GPLv2 prohibits adding extra restrictions to the conditions
described in GPLv2. It doesn't prohibit restricting dual-licensed code
to just one of the licences. Fortunately. Otherwise all the stuff with
"any later version" would be a complete waste of time because the FSF
would not be able to close loopholes in the GPL by issuing a new
version: code licensed as "GPLv2 or later" would in effect remain
GPLv2 for ever.

The logic that allows us to replace "GPLv2 or later" by "GPLv3 or
later", when the time comes, also allows us to do the rather less
useful replament of "GPLv2 or later" by "GPLv2 only".


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