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Re: upstream has license which is an edited GPL

On Mon, Aug 04, 2008 at 07:20:09PM +1000, Ben Finney wrote:
> So, even if they preserve the copyright notice, they still may not
> redistribute changed copies of the GPL document. Only verbatim copies
> may be redistributed.

That is true. That is what I ment.

> The recommended way to license a work under the GNU GPL is to
> specifically grant license under the terms of "the GNU General Public
> License as published by the Free Software Foundation" etc., and give
> instructions on how to get a copy of the license. If they've followed
> that recommendation, then you have license to redistribute under the
> terms of the GNU GPL even if the work doesn't include that license
> text.

As I mentioned in my e-mail to d-m, all upstream source files have this
standard GPL v.2 header. The only problem is that the COPYING file which
is distributed with the sources has been changed in the described way (GPL
preamble and appendix removed, terms kept).

One thing that I have to note also that after this standard header
the author writes: "For more details see the file COPYING." which
is the changed GPL.

> You are, as far as I can tell, free to obtain a verbatim copy of the
> GNU GPL as described in the specific license grant (e.g. "either
> version 2 of that License, or, at your option, any later version") and
> exercise the license under the terms you find there.

I see. This is good.

> You may even be within your rights to excise the copyright-infringing
> modified document of the GPL and substitute a verbatim copy of the
> real license text in the source you distribute. I'm not sure, though,
> so I'm including debian-legal in this discussion for further input.
> > Technically, it has all the terms of GPL, however I am worrying if
> > what the upstream has done makes his resulting license legally void.
> The inclusion of a license document doesn't imply anything about the
> grant of license you have to the work. Likewise, I think the terms
> that apply are those granted in the copyright holder's license grant.
> Their license to the text of the GPL may be void, but the work under
> discussion is (presumably) not a derivative work of the GPL document
> itself. They can license the work in which they hold copyright however
> they like, regardless of violating the copyright in a separate work,
> and such license grant to third parties (such as you) should be
> unaffected.

I see, thank you for clarifications!


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