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Re: Linux kernel complete licence check, Q.12



On Wed, Nov 20, 2002 at 01:04:22PM -0500, David Turner wrote:
> On Mon, 2002-11-18 at 17:45, Jakob Bohm wrote:
> > On Mon, Nov 18, 2002 at 12:54:27PM -0500, David Turner wrote:
> > > On Mon, 2002-11-18 at 10:08, Henning Makholm wrote:
> > > 
> > > > > All portions of governed files not labeled otherwise are owned by Hans
> > > > > Reiser, and by adding your code to it, widely distributing it to
> > > > > others or sending us a patch, and leaving the sentence in stating that
> > > > > licensing is governed by the statement in this file, you accept this.
> > > > 
> > > > Adding things to the files without due notice of the change is
> > > > *forbidden* by the GPL. Essentially this notice seems to say that you
> > > > get the *additional* right to do such additions if you transfer your
> > > > copyright to Hans Reiser. Formally that amounts to a dual-licensing
> > > > scheme which is fine by the DFSG as long as one of the alternatives
> > > > (i.e. GPL) is free.
> > > 
> > > This is somewhat bogus.  Reiser demands a specific form for the change
> > > notices required by GPL (2)(a) -- you have to remove a sentence.  And
> > > this is certainly a requirement in addition to the GPL, which conflicts
> > > with section (6).
> > > 
> > > Fortunately, this doesn't actually work in the US.  You can't transfer
> > > copyright implicitly in the US -- you need signed paperwork (17 USC 204
> > > (a)).
> > > 
> > 
> > I respectfully thing you are reading the license all wrong here.
Oops, I meant think not thing ;-)
> > 
> > IANAL, TINLA, IANADD, but here is my reading:
Still applies,
> > 
> > The files are available under GPL, with no limitations.
> 
> That's where we disagree.  See below.
>  
> > ... Eliding myself
> >
> > So far this should not be a problem.
> > 
> > The Author claims, that if "You" modify a file without deleting
> > the reference to the extended license and replacing it with pure
> > GPL (or whatever), your changes become subject to the extended
> > license which grants the Author the permission to make the code
> > available under any license he chooses.
> 
> That's not quite correct.  He claims that he "owns" it.  The only
> possible meaning of that is a transfer of copyright.  It turns out that
> this doesn't actually work, but it's an attempt.
> 
> > This is slightly more controversial, but essentially it works
> > the same way as LGPL->GPL conversion: If you modify an LGPL file
> > without changing the LGPL statement, your are putting your code
> > under LGPL (or it is not distributable).  However you can change
> > the license from LGPL to pure GPL by simply changing the license
> > statement.
> 
> Yes, but that's written into the license, while this is tacked on in a
> random separate file.
> 

I see it a little differently:

An LGPL library is subject to the LGPL which can be paraphrased
as:

   "This license applies to files which begin with a conspicuous
    notice saying so.  By distributing etc. this code you
    agree to Xxxx and get the right to Yyyy.  If you want to, you
    may also irreversibly change the license to the GPL for your
    copy and copies subsequently made from that copy, you do
    that by changing the notice so it points to GPL, not this
    file".  (The LGPL is written in very formal terms by top
    lawyers).
    
The reiserfs library is subject to the README license which can
be paraphrased as:

   "This license applies to files which begin with a conspicuous
    notice saying so.  By distributing this code you agree to
    grant the original author all the rights he would have if he
    held the copyright in it and gain the possibility that he
    might pay you money in return.            If you want to, you    
    may also irreversibly change the license to the GPL for your
    copy and copies subsequently made from that copy, you do
    that by changing the notice so it points to GPL, not this
    file".  (The README is written in less formal terms and may
    not have been grammar-checked by a lawyer).

In neither case is the code really under the GPL.  In both cases
the license is explicitly GPL-compatible because it allows
derived works (such as a compiled kernel binary or a forked
version of glibc or reiserfs) to be placed under pure GPL.  In
both cases distributing with the original notice intact grants
additional rights to some recipients (with very different
benefits in return).  In both cases exercising the GPL-only
option for your changed copy implies a fork of the Program
because the original author wants to keep his version under the
original license.

Hope this makes my comparison clearer.

Jakob


-- 
This message is hastily written, please ignore any unpleasant wordings,
do not consider it a binding commitment, even if its phrasing may
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