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Re: GPL compatibility of DFCL



On Fri, Jun 14, 2002 at 08:46:17AM -0500, Steve Langasek wrote:
> They retain both their copyright and their licensing, yes.  The trouble
> is, you have to permit licensing the work under the GPL for it to have
> legally gotten there in the first place, which means anyone who receives
> your DFCL text as part of a GPL work has a license to it under the terms
> of the GPL

Only "when you distribute the same sections as part of a whole which is
a work based on the Program".

> -- not under the terms of the GPL-plus-a-few-restrictions.

Only "when you distribute the same sections as part of a whole which is
a work based on the Program".

If the GPL did not mean this, there would be no qualification.

Rather than saying this:

(real GPL)
	These requirements apply to the modified work as a whole. If
	identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the
	Program, and can be reasonably considered independent and
	separate works in themselves, then this License, and its terms,
	do not apply to those sections when you distribute them as
	separate works. But when you distribute the same sections as
	part of a whole which is a work based on the Program, the
	distribution of the whole must be on the terms of this License,
	whose permissions for other licensees extend to the entire
	whole, and thus to each and every part regardless of who wrote
	it.

The GPL would say this:

(fantasy GPL)
	These requirements apply to the modified work as a whole. If
	identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the
	Program, and can be reasonably considered independent and
	separate works in themselves, then this License, and its terms,
	applies to those sections when you distribute them as
	^^^^^^^
	separate works.  To reiterate, the distribution of the whole
	                 ^^^^^^^^^^^^
	must be on the terms of this License, whose permissions for
	other licensees extend to the entire whole, and thus to each and
	every part regardless of who wrote it.

(changes emphasized)

You are telling me that the fantasy GPL is really what exists.  If not,
then what can I do under the real GPL that I cannot do under the fantasy
GPL?  Is there in fact anything I can do under the real GPL that I
cannot do under the fantasy GPL?  It sounds to me like you're saying
"no".

> The final paragraphs of section 2 only say that the copyright holder has
> the right to distribute his own work under other license terms when
> distributing it alone.

Incorrect.  The final paragraphs of section 2 say that the GPL *does not
apply* to a (non-GPLed) work when it distributed apart from a GPLed
work.

> It does NOT give the copyright holder the ability to rescind
> permissions after a license to copy and modify the work has been
> granted under the GPL.

No, but this isn't the argument.  Nobody is rescinding anything.  The
license on my work can give you permission to include it as a
modification to a GPLed whole.  This is what it really means to apply
the GPL to a GPL-compatible work.

When you pull a non-GPLed work into a GPLed work, you must have
permission under the non-GPLed work's license to distribute the work
"as part of a whole which is a work based on the [GPLed] Program".  The
MIT license grants this permission, as does the BSD license.  As does
the DFCL.

> Now, either you permit genuine relicensing of the DFCL work under the
> terms of the GPL, or you don't.  If you don't, then section 2a) applies:

(That's 2b)).

>     b) You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in
>     whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any
>     part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third
>     parties under the terms of this License.

That's right.  *YOU*.  *YOU* being the person who is using the GPL.
YOU being the person who has GNU Emacs and is modifying it to include a
DFCLed sound file of Branden playing the guitar (poorly).  *YOU* are
licensing the work that YOU do to incorporate the sound file "under the
terms of this License".  The glue that YOU use to stick Branden's DFCLed
sound file to GNU Emacs is therefore licensed, by YOU, under the GNU
GPL.

Does the DFCL permit this?  Yes.

Does the GNU GPL permit this?  Yes, if you abide by 2a), 2b), and 2c).

> So if your DFCL work is not truly licensed under the GPL, neither you
> nor anyone else has a right to combine it with GPL code and distribute
> the derived work.

What does "truly licensed under the GPL" mean?  What does it mean to be
falsely licensed under the GPL?

Let's stick to the language of the license.

Can you *distribute* the DFCLed work as part of a whole which is a work
under the terms of the GNU GPL when you combine it with a GPLed work?
Yes.  The DFCL says you can.

> If you do permit relicensing under the GPL, then you are granting these
> rights to third parties:

It's not "relicensing", a term which does not appear in the GNU GPL.  It
is permitting distribution of the work AS PART OF A WHOLE which is under
the terms of the GNU GPL.  Please, let us stick to the language of the
license.

> The final paragraphs of section 2 are addressed to the copyright holder
> of an independent and separate work, not to the licensee of a GPL
> Program that /contains/ an independent and separate work.

Incorrect.  The final paragraphs of section 2 are addressed to YOU.

	0. [...] Each licensee is addressed as "YOU".

	2. YOU may modify your copy or copies of the Program or any
	portion of it [...]

	If identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the
	Program, and can be reasonably considered independent and
	separate works in themselves, then this License, and its terms,
	do not apply to those sections when YOU distribute them as
	separate works. But when YOU distribute the same sections as
	part of a whole which is a work based on the Program, the
	distribution of the whole must be on the terms of this License,
	whose permissions for other licensees extend to the entire
	whole, and thus to each and every part regardless of who wrote
	it.

Emphasis added.

> They do not limit my right under the license to chop up a GPL program
> and only reuse parts of it, so long as my use complies with the terms
> of the GPL -- EVEN IF a part that I'm using is a proper subset of a
> work that was originally licensed under the DFCL.

Incorrect.

You can chop up a work which is copyrighted and licensed under the terms
of the GPL as much as you want.  When you are distributing a
conglomerate work which contains bits licensed under the GPL and bits
that are NOT licensed under the GPL but are instead DISTRIBUTED UNDER
THE TERMS OF the GPL, you need to be more careful.  When you remove all
of the "viral" GPLed code, you may end up with something that is NOT
UNDER THE GPL.  This is because the GNU GPL *cannot abrogate the right
of the copyright holder to license his work as he sees fit*.

If someone aggregates my MITed work into a GPLed whole, and then someone
else takes my MITed work back out, my work *remains under the MIT
license*.  *It is not licensed under the GNU GPL*.  This is NOT the same
thing as *permitting distribution under the terms of the GPL*.  If it
were, then all MITed and BSDed work would become copylefted -- for
everyone in the world -- as soon as someone combined that work with a
GPLed one.  The BSDs, the XFree86 Project, and (reportedly) Microsoft
would thus suddenly become candidates for lawsuits by the FSF for GPL
violations -- all one has to do is combine something with GNU Emacs, and
bang.

But, fortunately for those who don't like the the GNU GPL, it doesn't
work that way.

> If I'm using part of a GPL work, I shouldn't have to worry about its
> genealogy before being able to use it.

I am sorry, but I am afraid you do.  Read all copyright notices.

> And this is how it's meant to be.

Maybe that's what some people would like to see, but that's not how
things are.

> The GPL is designed as a one-way trap into a creative commons.

Yes, but this doesn't have all the ramifications you seem to think it
does.  To bring a non-GPLed work under the GPL:

1) The non-GPLed work must be able to be distributed under the terms of
the GPL.  I.e., have no restrictions on its use, modification,
distribution, etc. that the GPL prohibits. "You may not impose any
further restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted
herein."  This is a NECESSARY but NOT SUFFICIENT condition.

2) The non-GPLed work *must actually be combined in fact with a GPLed
work under the terms of section 2 of the GNU GPL* (which has been quoted
many times in this thread).

*Only* once *both* of these conditions have been met, has the work
entered the GPL commons.

Moreover, *this entry of the non-GPLed work into the GPL commons does
not bodily transport the work from outside the GPL commons into it.  It
makes a copy.  That copy goes away when the non-GPLed work is severed
from the moorings of the GPLed whole into which it is combined.

That means, for the non-GPLed work to stay in the commons, it MUST
REMAIN combined with a GPLed work as described in section 2.  I will not
quote again the second paragraph of section 2.

> You can license your work in other ways outside of that commons, but
> once it's inside you can't ever prevent its use within.

That is true, but I think your understanding of what it means to be
"within the commons" is flawed; see above.  The work is not transported,
it is copied.  And that copy only remains when the work is conjoined
with a GPLed work.

Or, to switch analogies, perhaps it is not a copy so much a pointer or a
tether.

Imagine a fisherman in a boat.  He's a software author.  He has a
fishing rod with a line and a hooks (a GPLed work that he wrote or has a
license to).  Some fish can be caught and reeled in without a problem
(public domain works).  Other fish refuse to bite his hook (works that
are licensed under terms incompatible with the GPL).  And finally, some
fish can be hooked, but not reeled in.  These are works that can be
distributed under the terms of the GPL.  They can be carried along with
the fisherman's boat -- they are hooked.  However, the fisherman cannot
reel the fish in.  The force resisting him is copyright law.  As long as
the fish is hooked by the GPLed work -- it can be compelled to go
wherever the fisherman wants.

When the line is cut, though -- when the GPLed work that incorporates the
non-GPLed work discards it -- the fish is free again.  If you want it
back in the GPL commons, you're going to have to cast a line again.

(The above analogy is flawed with respect to public domain works because
you simply cannot take a work out of the public domain.  You merely
don't have to tell anyone what you're doing, or concern yourself with
copyright issues.  However, since the public domain isn't the subject of
conversation I'll leave the flaw there.)

> An escape clause such as the one you're proposing would be a very
> serious flaw in the GPL;

I disagree.  Free but non-copylefted works reside in the GPL commons
only as long as they are needed by GPLed works.

> topologically, it's equivalent to letting someone impose the
> restriction, "Permission is granted to modify this work under the
> terms of the GPL so long as it's done as part of application KFoo",
> which is clearly not the GPL at all, and does not make it legal to
> combine their work with KFoo unless the KFoo authors grant an
> exception.

I disagree that this is an equivalence.  I don't have time to dissect it
at the moment.  I will just point out that the proposed term of the DFCL
is not of this form.

Your example makes distribution under the terms of the GPL contingent on
something.  The DFCL clause I am proposing does not.  Distribution under
the terms of the GPL *is* the contingency.

	Message-ID: <20020614014317.GF9051@deadbeast.net>.

	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.

These discussions have prompted me to tweak the language just a bit for
more clarity, however:

	When this work is incorporated into a different work that is
	^^^^                                                 ^^^^
	licensed under the GNU GPL, version 2, as published by the Free
	Software Foundation, reproduction of the endorsement section
	                    ^
	immediately after this work's copyright notice is optional
	instead of mandatory when those notices appear as part of the
	                     ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
	work licensed under the GNU GPL.
	^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

(changes noted)

The intent is to lift the endorsement clause restriction only in the
context of combination with a GPLed work, not for the whole world.

This is a trap door of my own.  The license is GPL-incompatible, until
and unless you actually apply the GPL to it by distributing a DFCLed
work as part of a GPLed whole.

-- 
G. Branden Robinson                |     Don't use nuclear weapons to
Debian GNU/Linux                   |     troubleshoot faults.
branden@debian.org                 |     -- US Air Force Instruction 91-111
http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |

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