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Re: Changing license

Patryk Cisek wrote:

> Hello,
> I'm packaging Kadu program (www.kadu.net) for Debian and Ubuntu right now.
> There's a problem with Kadu's license (GPLv2 or later), which conflicts
> OpenSSL's license. When  project started, upstream authors where not aware
> of the conflict, so they didn't add a proper exception. However, now
> they're not sure if they can add this exception now.

Best thing to do?  Convert the program to use GNUTLS.

> Many contributors 
> have submitted patches over time and, as upstream and I understand,
> copyright holders for those patches are the contributors.

Yes.  And if Kadu's upstream has been doing due copyright diligence, they 
have added appropriate copyright notices each time a contributor added a 
patch. (Except for trivial patches which aren't subject to copyright.)

> So does Kadu's 
> upstream have to ask authors of all applied patches (which is simply not
> possible, because there's no contact with many of them any more) for a 
> permission to change the license?

Yep.  (Well, except for trivial patches, which aren't subject to copyright).

> Well, they have rights to their patches, 
> but copyright holder for
> Kadu is  Kadu Team (http://www.kadu.net/wiki/index.php/English:Authors).

Well, they have the right to delete the old patches or replace them with new
material.  :-P  In major relicensing projects, there usually ends up being
some code which has to be rewritten.

Like most free software, the work is subject to a "rights thicket"; 
relicensing has to be cleared with a very large number of people.

(This is considered a feature by some people and a bug by others.  
Rights thickets are usually considered to indicate a bug in the law, 
because they make getting permission to do anything so difficult.
It's sometimes considered a feature in free software because making 
relicensing hard can prevent individuals from being pressured
to relicense.  This is an example of the jujitsu of free software,
turning the worst features of copyright law to at least some good use.)

Nathanael Nerode  <neroden@fastmail.fm>

Bush admitted to violating FISA and said he was proud of it.
So why isn't he in prison yet?...

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