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Re: MusicXML 2.0?

In message <[🔎] 20090628182025.GF14780@const.famille.thibault.fr>, Samuel Thibault <sthibault@debian.org> writes

I would like to package a software which includes some dtd modules
licensed under the MusicXML 2.0 license [1].  It looks like a free
license, but something catched my attention:

`No one other than Recordare LLC has the right to modify this

which I understand as not allowing re-licensing.

Err, no.

The GPL does exactly the same thing, except not explicitly. As I understand it, Recordare are saying "these are the terms we are making this stuff available to you on, and only we can change those terms". If I make stuff available to you under the GPL, then no-one other than me has the right to change those terms (ie, in Recordare's words, "modify this agreement").

Oh - and the GPL does NOT allow re-licensing, either! What it allows you to do (and what this licence probably does - I haven't analysed it) is to add code under a compatible licence. You haven't changed the licence on the existing code, so the derived work is only distributable on those terms which intersect the two licences. What the GPL demands here is that the GPL always be a subset of the intersect, so that anybody can safely assume the GPL applies to the whole work.

The thing is: these dtd modules are referenced to by a GPL dtd (which
also references an MPL 1.1 dtd), like this:

<!ENTITY % laDtdMusique SYSTEM "partwise.dtd" >
<!ENTITY % laDtdXHTML SYSTEM "xhtml11.dtd" >

The dtd is eventually used by a GPL/LGPL java application.  My concern
is whether the GPL has to propagate down to the MusicXML 2.0 dtd being
used, as that would require re-licensing.  What do people think about

These references are "executed" by the user, so actually I would say that the GPL is irrelevant here - the GPL does not place any restrictions on the end user, and the files being distributed, while they *reference* other GPL files, they do not *contain* GPL code therefore they are "mere aggregation" as far as the GPL and copyright law goes.

Oh - and as I said - the GPL does *not* *permit* re-licensing, so this entire argument has to be flawed, anyway.

[1]: http://www.recordare.com/dtds/license.html

I think you need a little deeper understanding of the GPL. Read, learn and inwardly digest the part where it says "when you pass on a copy that you have received, the recipient receives a licence from the original copyright holder" (yes I know that's not an exact quote). That - *intentionally* - cuts the distributor out of the loop as far as copyright law is concerned. So if you modify a GPL program and then pass it on, any licences, restrictions, whatever that you apply, are ONLY relevant in so far as they apply to stuff for which *you* hold the copyright.

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

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