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Re: License violation in "new" Plex86

On Thu, 08 Apr 2004, Robert Millan wrote:
> The main author of Plex86 forked his own project (heh) to create the
> "new" Plex86 effort, and relicensed it under the MIT/X license. He
> asserted that, as the copyright holder, he has permission to do so.

What he has been able to do is relicense the code of which he is the
sole copyright holder under the MIT/X license. As this license is
compatible with code under the LGPL, that's perfectly acceptable.

> But Plex86 included many contributions of different developers under
> the LGPL.  In order to relicense, he'd need either to have
> permission from each of the copyright holders of the old Plex86
> project, or remove/replace the code for which he doesn't own the
> copyright.

He wouldn't have to do so, as that code is compatible. However, to
claim that the _entire work_ is licensed under MIT/X is not true if it
contains work which is licensed soley under the LGPL. [This wouldn't
be the first time that upstreams have been sloppy about what license
their entire project is effectively distributed under.]

> the "new" Plex86's legal status is in a very questionable state, and
> should not be packaged for Debian unless the situation is
> clarified. If you do agree with this, I'll add it to the WNPP list
> of unpackageable software.

I'm not sure that this particular state of affairs makes it
unpackageable for Debian, as we have no problems with distributing
code that is under the LGPL or MIT/X.

Nevertheless, it is important that anyone who is planning on using
this software or planning on packaging this software for Debian be
aware that the entire codebase may not be distributable under the
terms of the MIT/X license (eg, the LGPL might control.) [You might
attempt to contact upstream again and hint that they should check out
the contributions of other authors to Plex86 to make sure that it's ok
for their works of authorship be relicenced under MIT/X, though.]

Don Armstrong

You could say she lived on the edge... Well, maybe not exactly on the edge,
just close enough to watch other people fall off.
  -- hugh macleod http://www.gapingvoid.com/batch8.htm


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