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Re: GPL "or any greater version"

Raul Miller <moth@debian.org> writes:

>> > What happens to the notices which claim:
>> >
>> >     This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
>> >     it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
>> >     the Free Software Foundation; either version 2, or (at your option)
>> >     any later version.
>> >
>> > ?
> On Fri, Aug 27, 2004 at 12:14:37PM -0400, Brian Thomas Sniffen wrote:
>> Those apply to the parts the FSF wrote, certainly.  For example, I
>> would frame that sentence with "Some parts are Copyright 1902-1954
>> FSF.  About those parts, the FSF says:"
> You seem to be ignoring the issue of presenting the distinction to later
> users in a clear fashion.
> "Email me to find out copyright terms" is not an appropriate copyright
> notice.  What happens in copyright terms if the email bounces, for
> example?
> "Read the change log to figure out what terms apply where" is not an
> appropriate copyright notice, either.  Changelogs are inadequate for
> that purpose.

I suggest you open Netscape or Mozilla and look at the about: page.
You will see copyright notices along the lines I suggest.

>> > For that matter, what happens after a few hundred revisions where 12
>> > people have asserted something like: yeah that's true but it's not really
>> > true for the part I own, contact me for the details.
>> >
>> > ?
>> The same thing that happens whenever a bunch of compatibly-licensed
>> programs are combined: a really big copyright file.
> I don't think you understand what I'm asking.  I'm asking about how
> you expect the boundaries between the incompatible parts (where future
> versions of the GPL are allowed and where they're not) are meant to be
> maintained.  The copyright file won't work for that, unless you place
> further restrictions on how people edit the program.  
> But you're not allowed to place further restrictions.

The copyright file does work for that.  And if you have doubts about
what is under what license, you can ask the copyright holders.

>> >> Yes, they only need to keep the copyright notice accurate.
>> >
>> > The GPL requires that copyright notices be kept intact.
>> >
>> > If you think that "kept intact" includes "being modified so they no longer
>> > say the same thing", I'd like to see some reason for agreeing with you.
>> You're right that it's probably better not to change the text, but
>> simply to set context appropriately.  The term "This program," for
>> example, has a very specific referrant -- it was written by the
>> copyright holder for the initial version, not the modifications.
> Except, section 2 requires that if you choose to distribute the modified
> program you distribute the modifications such that "this program" also
> refers to the modifications.

Yes, but when "this program" is taken as referring to the modified
version, then the "licensor" is the modifier, not the FSF.


Brian Sniffen                                       bts@alum.mit.edu

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