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Re: Final text of GPL v3

On Sun, Jul 01, 2007 at 10:50:22AM -0700, Steve Langasek wrote:
> Um, no.  "You shouldn't have used GPLv3" doesn't have any legal force to
> resolve the inconsistency.  If I license my work under the GPLv3, I *as the
> copyright holder* can still modify the terms of my code's license [...]

Well, the GPLv3 text itself is licensed under the terms "Everyone is
permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document,
but changing it is not allowed.", so if your license is going to include
the rest of the GPL, it's going to include the bit that says ignoring
restrictions is okay.

> If I go to the effort of writing
>     This program is Free Software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
>     it under the terms of the GNU General Public License version 3 as
>     published by the Free Software Foundation, with the exception that the
>     prohibition in section 7 of the license on additional restrictions does
>     not apply and the permission in section 13 is not granted.
> then I have *explicitly addressed* the clause in GPLv3 which purports to
> prohibit additional restrictions.  Which statement is going to take
> precedence?  At best I've created a lawyer bomb because my intentions are
> not clear; 

So I'd say that is, in fact, the best you can hope for -- and if you've
made the licensing terms fairly deliberately ambiguous, I wouldn't bet on
you being able to enforce your "can't link with AGPLv3" requirement, even
if I wouldn't bet on you not being able to enforce it. I'd be reluctant
to accept something that deliberately ambiguous into the archive, even
though either outcome was DFSG-free.

> at worst I've succeeded in licensing my code in a manner that's
> incompatible with the GPLv3.  But that's exactly the same problem that we
> had with GPLv2, so what was the point of adding this clause?

Presumably the idea is to discourage licensing proliferation by making
it hard to extend the GPL in incompatible ways -- perhaps not impossible,
but definitely harder than it would be without that clause.


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