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Re: Question about DFSG and a THC project

On Apr 22, 2004, at 17:39, Sam Hartman wrote:

Copyright 2003 by the Evil Empire, Inc.
This software can be redistributed under the terms of the GNU GPL, version 2., with the exception that it may be linked against the OpenSSL toolkit even though doing so would be a violation of the GPL.
Binaries resulting from such linking may also be distributed.

That's clearly a very sloppy license.  If we interpret it literally,
the first party (author) grats this license to second parties.  But
when these parties distribute, they only grant the GPL rights to those
they distribute, because that's what the GPL says happens.

No, the GPL says you (the distributor) may place no additional restrictions above the GPL.

More verbosely, what's happening here is:

	Copyright 2003 by the Evil Empire, Inc.
	[Normal GPL boilerplate]

	In addition, Evil Empire, Inc. grants you a license to link FOO
	with OpenSSL and distribute the resulting binaries.

The GPL only grants rights that you wouldn't otherwise have (due to copyright law). It never takes them away.

Now, in cases where it appears that the license author is confused, I think we should seek clarification. Better get things cleared up now --- before it even hits unstable --- than be forced to remove something from stable. In cases like this, contacting the author about his sloppy wording even gives an opportunity to convince him to free the software.

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