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Re: OT: GPL section 4 termination clause

On Fri, 14 Jan 2005 03:28:52 +0000, Lewis Jardine <debian@catbox.co.uk> wrote:
> Grzegorz B. Prokopski wrote:
> > And GPL also says, that the person who packages and then distributes
> > breaks the rules of GPL, it has no longer right to distribute nor use
> > the GPLed work.

It is impossible for the licensor to terminate the right to use the
work. If the copy has been legally obtained, the user has legally the
right to use. This just aside.
> As an aside, what's to stop a party, having violated the GPL at some
> point (and therefore having had their rights under the GPL terminated by
> section four) from simply acquiring another copy of the work from
> someone who still has the right to distribute it under the GPL, and
> therefore 'automatically receiv[ing] a license from the original licensor'?

As far as I can see, there are two solutions to this (I'm thinking in
European continental law):

1) There is nothing that prohibits one to enter in a new contract
after the first one was void. So the distribution violating the terms
is void, but upon back complying to the terms a new license is

2) The voidance sentence in art. 4 GPL is void itself because it
places an unreasonable burden on the licensee, with the consequence
that distribution under in breach of the terms is illegal, without
voiding the contract. Therefore one only has to comply to the license
terms to start distributing legally again.

Should the rights be terminated forever, it would be to heavy a burden
for the licensee, and my guts tell me that this would be the same in
US common law.

My personal favour goes to solution 2, it's the more elegant of the
two. There is a difference between the two though, in the first a case
a new contract is made, in the second the same contract is held. This
is of little concern for the GPL due to the mass-licensing nature of

Kind regards

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