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Re: Final text of GPL v3

In message <20070701175022.GB1055@dario.dodds.net>, Steve Langasek <vorlon@debian.org> writes
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 however I
damn well want, regardless of what the GPLv3 itself says about whether that
is permissible, because the GPLv3 is not binding on *me the copyright

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; 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?

And as I see it, if I say "My program is licenced under GPLv3 with the following exceptions ...", if the user ignores the exception, they have broken the terms I set for them to use the program, and the GPL doesn't apply, so they can't take advantage of the clause allowing them to remove the exception ...

At the end of the day, the intentions of the licensor are important, and if those intentions are made explicitly clear, it's a bit difficult for the GPL to contradict them.

The main effect of this clause will probably be to discourage people from doing this sort of thing - I'm not at all sure that clause would actually have teeth in a court of law.

Anthony W. Youngman - anthony@thewolery.demon.co.uk

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