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Re: Packaging a software with "moving" licence

On 12/23/05, Henning Makholm <henning@makholm.net> wrote:
> (In particular, the GPL itself does not explicitly claim to be
> irrevocable. The free software community generally believes it to be
> _implicitly_ irrevocable, but that won't necessarily impress a court
> faced with a plaintiff's argument: "look, we explicitly and
> deliberately structured our copyright notice such that we could change
> the license terms at any time, and the defendant should have known
> that text on a website may change from time to time").

The GPL isn't what says whether or not rights to a copyrighted work
may be revoked.

Copyright law says when copyrights may be revoked.  (In the U.S.
the requirement for revoking a copyright are: (a) The granter of
non exclusive rights to the copyrighted material has died, and (b)
something like 35 years have passed since the copyright was issued,
and (c) whoever acquired  exclusive ownership of the copyright wants
to revoke it.)

That said, a copyright grant may be explicitly conditional and time
or external events may be a part of those conditions.  But that's
not the same thing as revoking the rights -- that's not granting them
very generally in the first place.


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