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Re: QPL vs. DFSG

Sven Luther <sven.luther@wanadoo.fr> writes:

> On Wed, Jul 21, 2004 at 12:40:44PM -0400, Raul Miller wrote:
>> It seems to me that the QPL is trying to address cases where someone
>> might try to use otherwise independent contractual agreements to prevent
>> the distribution of QPL licensed code.
>> And, it seems to me, that some peopl see a conflict between the way the
>> QPL has expressed this and their interpretation of the DFSG.
>> Maybe, instead of trying to isolate the precise boundary between these
>> two camps, people could work on how to address the real issue -- which
>> probably includes stuff along the lines of "we'll terminate your support
>> contract if you take action without our permission".
>> Is there a way software can be made free in that sort of situation
>> which is acceptable to people who like to discuss the DFSG?  If not,
>> is there some reason we should think that's a good thing for the free
>> software community?
> Err, how does the GPL termination clause come into play with this ? The one
> which says something along the lines of "you can't distribute the source of
> your modifications for whichever reason, all rights alocated to you by the GPL
> are then voided".

There's nothing like that in the GPL.  The closest is GPL 7, which
says in part:

  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.

Which isn't a termination clause.  It just says that if you have other
restrictions, you don't get to break the GPL to comply with them.  The
GPL termination clause is #4, which says:

  4. You may not copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute the Program
  except as expressly provided under this License.  Any attempt
  otherwise to copy, modify, sublicense or distribute the Program is
  void, and will automatically terminate your rights under this License.
  However, parties who have received copies, or rights, from you under
  this License will not have their licenses terminated so long as such
  parties remain in full compliance.

That's very different.  All it says is that if you break the GPL in
one way, you lose all rights under it.  This helps keep companies
using GPL'd software honest -- they can't just factor in a cost of
settlements, because they lose even the right to distribute or to make
private modifications when in violation.


Brian Sniffen                                       bts@alum.mit.edu

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