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Re: Artistic and LGPL compatibility in jar files

On Dec 13, 2009, at 2:24 AM, Anthony W. Youngman wrote:
> In message <[🔎] F4CCEC28-FE42-4AF3-B0C0-C832A6B0DE1D@dalkescientific.com>, Andrew Dalke <dalke@dalkescientific.com> writes
>> Well, the GPL does allow relicensing to newer versions of the GPL...
> Read what the GPL says, CAREFULLY.

Here is relevant commentary in Rosen's book "Open Source Licensing" book at


> This GPL section 4, with its negative wording, is also the only place that references the right to sublicense. One might assume from the way GPL section 4 is worded that the right to sublicense was intended in sections 1 (right to copy), 2 (right to modify) and 3 (right to distribute) as well. However, section 6 implies that there are no sublicenses but instead a direct license from each up-stream contributor:

> As to sublicensing, then, the GPL is ambiguous. I refer you to the discussion in Chapter 5 of sublicensing in the MIT license. Sublicensing rights can be very important to open source distributors for dealing properly with the chain of title to contributions. In practice, most software projects ignore the issue completely and assume that, for GPL software, only the most recent license in the chain of title matters. They assume that GPL licensed software is sublicenseable, but the GPL isn’t clear about that.

I will try to use the word "sublicense" in the future as that seems more precise.

As you can tell, a professional lawyer in this field is not clear about if the GPLv2 allows sublicensing, so I hope it's understandable how someone could view a change from GPLv2 to GPLv3 without keeping the chain of titles (which is the common practice) could be considered a relicense.

Best regards,


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