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Re: GPL, "license upgrades", and the obligation to offer source code

On 5/11/05, Michael K. Edwards <m.k.edwards@gmail.com> wrote:
> On 5/11/05, Raul Miller <moth.debian@gmail.com> wrote:
> > On 5/11/05, Michael K. Edwards <m.k.edwards@gmail.com> wrote:
> > On the other hand, the termination is not for 35 years after the grant.
> > And, in the case of the GPL, everyone gets an independent grant:
> >
> >    Each time you redistribute the Program (or any work based on
> >    the Program), the recipient automatically receives a license
> >    from the original licensor to copy, distribute or modify the
> >    Program subject to these terms and conditions.
> >
> > This might not be as effective as a "work made for hire" for a shell
> > corporation, but I wouldn't want to bet that these license grants are
> > ineffective, either.
> That's actually one of the subtler reductio ad absurdum arguments
> against construing this clause as independent offers of contract from
> each copyright holder.  The actual, historical law to the rescue
> again!  I (IANAL) would expect a court to construe this as a grant of
> agency to sublicense under the GPL's terms.  

The GPL does not grant the right to sublicense.

Section 6's grant does not depend on an agent having a valid

> > Also, if a currently valid work is being actively maintained,
> > it's possible that an original author who is dead for 35 years
> > will no longer own a majority of the work.
> Which is completely irrelevant.  Any degree of derivation which is not
> "de minimis" under the Computer Associates v. Altai
> abstraction-filtration-comparison test, or its equivalent in the
> appropriate jurisdiction, gets a complainant past the "copying"
> threshold and on to an evaluation of licensing status and other
> affirmative defenses.  And it's not "dead for 35 years" -- it's "35
> years from hypothecation".

Here, you're assuming that the section 6 GPL license grants 
are not license grants but something else.


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