[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: xchat is now shareware in windoze

On Thu, Oct 21, 2004 at 01:38:39PM -0400, Michael Poole wrote:
> Let us call them the package maintainer and patch contributor.

It's a bit more complicated than that.  We have seven people listed
in the AUTHORS file for xchat 1.2.0, with "many others" mentioned in
a footnote.  Most of the sources there are copyright 1988 Peter Zelezny,
and explicitly distributed under the terms of the GPL.

> The package maintainer includes GPL-only code from the patch
> contributor.

Contributors, but yes.

> The package maintainer continues to release that under the GPL, but
> also releases a shareware version in violation of the GPL.  Debian
> would package the GPL version.

If the package maintainer is Peter Zelezny (which it appears to be),
then it's "only" the contributions which he's lost rights to.  And,
there, only if they have not (and will not) assigned copyright to him.

> It is not clear to me that releasing the shareware(-only) version
> terminates the package maintainer's rights to release the GPL version.

If he hasn't been [and won't be] granted non-GPL rights then he's
lost all rights to distribute those elements [and would not be getting
replacement rights].  That's GPL section 4.

> I do not think any reasonable patch contributor would sue over the GPL
> releases made by the package maintainer, although they might easily
> sue over the shareware version.

I think that before any lawsuit actions (if any) happened, the people
involved would need to talk things over to make it clear what they plan
to do about this situation.

That said, until this is sorted out, people receiving the shareware
version should have every right to expect GPLed rights.

> Whether there are grounds to sue the Debian packager or a mirror
> operator is, of course, a different question from whether one really
> wants to package software when its maintainer seems to willfully
> violate copyrights (not just the copyrights on the patches, but also
> those on libraries such as gtk+).

I don't think there are good grounds here for anyone to sue any Debian
packager or mirror maintainer.

I do agree that promoting the work of someone who knowingly violates
the GPL in an ongoing fashion would not be good for the free software


Reply to: