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Re: GPL compatibility of DFCL

> > On Thu, 13 Jun 2002, Branden Robinson wrote:
> > > As noted elsewhere, I'm planning on a "GPL conversion clause".  This
> > > would permit the omission of the endorsements notice.
> > > Actually, it would only "suspend" it.

> On Thu, Jun 13, 2002 at 03:49:27PM -0700, Mark Rafn wrote:
> > How could this possibly work?  If I get a work under the GPL, how can 
> > some other license possibly take away my GPL permission to modify and 
> > distribute the work?

On Thu, 13 Jun 2002, Branden Robinson wrote:
> So, I write a nice big manual for Foo, and license it under the DFCL.
> There is an endorsement notice right under the copyright notice, and I
> put my name there in my original release.
> Time passes.  Someone gets the clever idea to incorporate my Foo manual
> into the Foo source distribution so that all Foo users will be able to
> access it easily. 
> They then turn to clause X of the
> DFCL and see "if and while this work is incorporated into a different
> work which is licensed under the GNU GPL, version 2, as published by the
> Free Software Foundation, the reproduction of the endorsement section
> immediately after this work's copyright notice is optional instead of
> mandatory."

Ok.  The combined work is now distributable under the GPL, right?  I
recieve it from someone, along with source.  I modify the combined work by
removing a bunch of stuff (which happens to be all of the Foo source).  
Because I recieved a GPL package, I can distribute my modified version
under the GPL as well.  How does the original license force me to put the 
endorsement section back in?

> I think you're thinking about this completely the wrong way.

I must be.  Maybe I'm misreading 2b of the GPL, and have an incorrect 
understanding of what "GPL compatible" means.  I THINK it means that a 
combined work must be distributable under the GPL.  Is it more subtle 
than that?

> Remember:
> 1) a copyright work doesn't stop being copyrighted (or licensed) when it
> is combined with another work

Of course not.

> 2) the GPL does not trump or change the license terms of any other
> copyrighted work; it simply establishes conditions for modification and
> distribution of the work licensed under the GPL, which may or may not be
> met.

I think this is the key.  The GPL doesn't change the license terms of
anything else, but it certainly specifies the license terms for a
derivative or combined work.  The ability to distribute a work combined
with the GPL indicates that the GPL can be applied to any work derivative
of the combination.

Or I'm misreading the GPL, which is possible (even likely, given the way
we're gaping at each other as if we'd each grown another arm).

> 3) you can distribute a non-GPLed work (such as an MIT or 3-clause BSD
> licensed library) along with a GPLed work as long as the license on that
> non-GPLed work does not run violate any of the GPL's terms.

Sure, but the aggregate can be distributed under the GPL, and therefore 
derivatives of the aggregate can be distributed under GPL.  I'd always 
assumed that this meant that if someone really wanted, they could release 
a fork of an MIT-licensed work under the GPL.  I'm just at this moment 
reexamining that assumption.

> > Aren't we then back to "we don't need a new content license."  Any free
> > software license works UNLESS you need a (positive or negative)
> > advertising clause.  (as long as you define software to be "a sequence of
> > bytes")
> This is actually pretty close to what I personally believe; however,
> there are at least three complications:

I'm with you here.  I see the use of the DFCL, I just don't see a way to 
make it GPL-compatible without making it a pure superset of GPL. 

> There are a few forums I know of where I can shop this idea around.  I
> want to have a draft first, though. 

Excellent.  This is clearly the right plan, especially the FUD and 
loathing from media tyrants as the sign of success.
Mark Rafn    dagon@dagon.net    <http://www.dagon.net/>  

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