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Re: mod_ldap for proftpd is now post-card licensed (proftpd 1.2.7+)...

On Thu, Jan 30, 2003 at 03:22:18PM -0500, Glenn Maynard wrote:

> > Yes, but that doesn't bind the author (assuming that he has the sole
> > copyrigt on the program).
> It does in a sense--it prevents people from using the GPL and adding
> additional restraints; at least according to this interpretation:
> http://lists.debian.org/debian-legal/2002/debian-legal-200205/msg00062.html
> "Review the text of the GNU GPL and note the many times it makes
> reference to "this License".  The GNU GPL is a self-contained license
> document.  A copyright holder is well within his rights to distribute a
> work under the terms of the GNU GPL and an arbitrary number of
> alternative terms, but those alternative terms cannot restrict the
> licensing of the work under the GPL, or the application of the GPL is
> void." (Branden)
> which I've referenced on this list several times and never seen challenged.
> (Direct challenges to him, though, as although I favor this interpretation,
> I'm not equipped to defend it.)

OK, for the record, reluctantly I will.

Branden, I think you're off-the-mark here. There is nothing to stop an
author making a statement that "You may copy distribute and modify this
work under the terms of the GPL in combination with the following extra
conditions, which shall override the GPL in cases of conflict".

There is nothing invalid about this, as far as I can see.

This is clearly what is intended in most of the cases we have seen of people
saying "GPL but...".

Where's the problem? It's not what the GPL was intended for, and it's not
what you'd like to see it used for (hell, most of the time it's not what I'd
like to see it used for, either), but I don't believe we do ourselves any
favours by pretending that it doesn't make any sense, that it's invalid, or
that we can't make out what the author intended.

When we come up against one of these cases we should say "Is this what you
intended? Thought so... we don't like this because X. Would you be willing
to change it? Even if not, we think you'd do well to clarify what you mean as
follows..." rather than mumbling on about the author being some kind
of fuckwit who clearly doesn't grok the GPL, copyright law, our principles
or whatever.

What precisely would be the problem with that?


Nick Phillips -- nwp@lemon-computing.com
Today is the last day of your life so far.

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