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Re: gens License Check - Non-free

Benjamin Cutler wrote:

Brian Thomas Sniffen wrote:

Not only is that non-free, it may not be distributable.  A single
work, parts of which are GPL'd and parts of which are non-free, can't
be distributed because the GPL requires that the entire thing be under
the terms of the GPL.


I guess I'm missing something, I just read through the GPL and I'm having trouble locating the specific clause that states this... not that I'm doubting you, I just was not aware of this.

As I understand it (IANAL) :

"  2. You may modify your copy or copies of the Program or any portion
of it, thus forming a work based on the Program, and copy and
distribute such modifications or work under the terms of Section 1
above, provided that you also meet all of these conditions:

    b) You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in
    whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any
    part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third
    parties under the terms of this License."

Causes the conditions of the GPL to apply to the entire work (in addition to any restrictions that any code from a third-party may already have)

"  6. ...You may not impose any further
restrictions on the recipients' exercise of the rights granted herein.
You are not responsible for enforcing compliance by third parties to
this License."

Means that if any restrictions imposed by the third party are in addition to restrictions in the GPL, the derived work is in contravention of the license on the GPL code

"  7. If, as a consequence of a court judgment or allegation of patent
infringement or for any other reason (not limited to patent issues),
conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or
otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this License, they do not
excuse you from the conditions of this License.  *If you cannot
distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this
License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you
may not distribute the Program at all.*..."

Together with 2b and 6, 7 means that a work combining parts licensed under the starscream license and the GPL is not distributable.

However, it may be possible to get the upstream authors (if there really are only two as the readme suggests) to add a special exception allowing linking with mp3dec and starscream. This would make the work distributable in non-free.

Would this mean that even the source tarball is not distributable as well?

In my opinion, the starscream processor emulator can be reasonably considered an independent and separate work in itself, thus the GPL does not apply to the starscream source files. Similarly, there is no starscream code in the GPL files, thus the starscream license does not apply to the GPL files. The same applies with GPL/starscream and the mp3dec license. Thus the source tarball can be distributed (in my opinion).

As I understand it, individual source files are not derived works of each other, merely aggregated in the same archive. This means that the source tarball is distributable, as long as all the files containing GPL code are unmodified, or only have modifications which are licensed under the GPL.

"These requirements apply to the modified work as a whole.  If
identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the Program,
and can be reasonably considered independent and separate works in
themselves, then this License, and its terms, do not apply to those
sections when you distribute them as separate works.  But when you
distribute the same sections as part of a whole which is a work based
on the Program, the distribution of the whole must be on the terms of
this License, whose permissions for other licensees extend to the
entire whole, and thus to each and every part regardless of who wrote it."

Lewis Jardine

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