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Re: request-tracker3: license shadiness

Michael Poole <mdpoole@troilus.org>:

> # Unless otherwise specified, all modifications, corrections or
> # extensions to this work which alter its source code become the
> # property of Best Practical Solutions, LLC when submitted for
> # inclusion in the work.

> What is the impact of the third paragraph?

It's not listed as a condition (the preceding paragraph is about the
absence of guarantee, not about giving permission). The licence is
quite clearly stated as Version 2 of the GPL.

It seems very similar in spirit to the note you read in some
newspapers saying something to the effect of "It will be assumed that
all letters are for publication unless otherwise specified", which is
likewise not a licence condition but just an attempt to clarify the
meaning of future communication.

It might conceivably be quite a good paragraph to have in case someone
sends in a patch, waits a few years, and then starts complaining about
people distributing the code without permission. However, "become the
property of" sounds like copyright transfer, which, as you point out,
is not possible in the USA and unlikely to be valid elsewhere. The
paragraph might be more effective if it said something more
reasonable, such as "are licensed to ... under the same terms", which
is exactly how things usually work in free software, in my limited

> Can Debian properly redistribute rt3 if rt3 alleges both distribution
> under the GPL and GPL-incompatible restrictions?  Does the fact that
> the restrictions are non-enforceable (at least in the US) enter
> consideration?

If it were an additional restriction, then it would be a problem.
Unenforceability in the USA doesn't help: it might be enforceable
elsewhere, and it might be enforceable in the USA if there is a change
in the law. However, to me as a layman it doesn't look in context like
a restriction.

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