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Re: Changing a license of a unmaintained software

Klaus Reimer <k@ailis.de> a tapoté :

> Hello,
> Let's assume that there is a 10 year old software wich is available in
> source form on various places on the internet but it has no maintainer and
> no home on the internet and the software has a nonfree license. Let's assume
> I found the original author and convinced him in changing the license to a
> free one. What is the procedure in doing this license change? The author is
> no longer maintaining the software, he is not publishing it anywhere. Is it
> enough when the author sends me an email in which he write about the change
> of the license? And what needs to be done after that? Can I publish the
> source code on my own website with a changed license file? Have I to include
> the mail from the original author to prove that the license was changed by
> the author?


All the source code files should mention the original author and the
license used for this new distribution. Just like if you received from
him his software licensed properly under a free software license.

I do not think you have to prove by an email this license change right
now. In fact, it's not up to you to change the license and if the
author grants you the right to do the job for him, it's still like he
had distributed himself the software as free software.

But to avoid any delicate issue in the future, if I were you, if would
ask him to confirm with a gpg signed email the license change (just an
email is something easy to fake). In some countries, it's accepted as
a valid proof of the origin of the email. This way, he would not be
able at a later time (for instance if the software reach some success)
to claims that he never changed the license. But I do not think this
proof should belongs to the distribution. 

Mathieu Roy
  Not a native english speaker: 

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