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Re: Fwd: figlet license change from Artistic to Clarified Artistic or Artistic 2.0?

On Wed, Nov 03, 2004 at 10:01:59AM -0500, John Cowan wrote:
> Sorry, I don't follow this.  How is enforcement involved here?

The example you gave showed a case where you've been promised something
and not given it, and you can't sue to get it.  The copyright license case
is different, since there's nothing in that "promise" that the licensee
might not actually be given that he needs to initiate legal action to

> The GPL isn't a contract, everyone agrees on that.  So how can the
> licensor be bound by it?  If EvilCo buys the copyright of Alice's
> GPLed Hummity software, they can announce "No more GPL on Hummity" and then
> sue, say, Bob, who has copied, distributed, or modified after
> hearing (actually or constructively) about the announcement.
> What possible legal theory does Bob have to defend himself from
> the charge of infringement?  I sure don't see any.

He was given permission to do so, and nothing in that permission
included a condition that the permission may be revoked at will.

Well, I found one bit in statute that seems to be what you're referring
to.  Section 203(c) [1] appears to give a five year window, starting 35
years after the grant of a license, during which authors can revoke licenses.

It has a "droit d'auteur"-esque clause: "Termination of the grant may be
effected notwithstanding any agreement to the contrary".  In order to
"protect" the freedom of authors, the law takes away their freedom to
license as they wish.  (Taking away freedom to protect freedom--backfires

It's limited: it must be served in writing at least two years in advance,
and joint works require "a majority of the authors".

Unless somebody finds something that renders this irrelevant to free
software in the next few days, I'll poke licensing@gnu.org with this.

[1] http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/casecode/uscodes/17/chapters/2/sections/section%5F203.html

Glenn Maynard

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