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Re: Artistic and LGPL compatibility in jar files

In message <[🔎] E77D3607-AF7F-43F4-A7E0-11E7C541C911@dalkescientific.com>, Andrew Dalke <dalke@dalkescientific.com> writes
I pointed out the quote from a copyright lawyer with a special interest in free software who said that the GPL was ambiguous about sublicensing
and if a chain of licenses was required or not.

I see the GPL explicitly agrees with me, not Larry Rosen :-) !!!

This is the GPL v3 - read the last section of "2. Basic Permissions" :

Which means you didn't look at the top of the first page of the link I sent you, where you would see the book was written in 2004 and therefore pre-GPLv3.

I didn't need to. I knew it was pre-GPL3. And you've confirmed this is the book which confirmed my dim view of Larry's competence ...

It also means you didn't recall my original text where I wrote:

 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.

My views on him are a direct consequence of discussing things - WITH HIM - on the lsb mailing lists. He referred me to this book and I read it in its entirety back then - quite some years ago (probably circa 2005, maybe even 2004). Basically I formed the impression he was a very capable lawyer, determined to twist everything to suit his interpretation of things regardless of fact or clear intent. And as I say, reading this book only confirmed that impression that I had already formed.

I believe I have careful to only used references from that book with respect to GPLv2, and not use it as a way to interpret reading the book has helped me understand some of the improvements made in GPLv3. The above was one of the few cases where I was not. The proper behavior should be to point out that I likely was imprecise and should have written "GPLv2" instead of simply "GPL."

"10. Automatic Licensing of Downstream Recipients.

Each time you convey a covered work, the recipient automatically receives a license from the original licensors, to run, modify and propagate that
work, subject to this License. You are not responsible for enforcing compliance by third parties with this License."

This is exactly the section (maybe worded, certainly numbered, differently) that I have repeatedly been referring to from the GPL v2.

This is the specific improvement to text which Rosen says is ambiguous in GPLv2. As you have not bothered to read the text and yet still comment on what you believe he has written, I shall copy it here:

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 think that ALL Larry's negative comments about the GPL stem from that assumption that you can sublicence GPL code. As I understand the GPL, (a) sublicencing is unnecessary, and (b) this very section 4 clearly says you can only sublicence GPL code if the GPL explicitly says you can (which it then *doesn't*).

That section in GPLv3 part 2 makes it clear that v2 did *not* intend to permit sublicencing. Obviously, rms seems to respect Larry's view a bit more than I do, in that he explicitly addressed it in v3, but equally it's clear that v2 did not (in his view) permit sublicensing.

Sorry, I know I'm being nit-picky about things, but lawyers do nit-pick. If you don't, it can cost you EVERYTHING.

Then nit-pick over things that actually exist. Lawyers at least get paid to nit-pick over whatever they get paid for. They also get paid to work on multiple iterations of their text, where obviously what I am writing now is a first draft.

As I understand it, Larry is *willfully* *misunderstanding* the GPL. imho that's a fact :-)

See above. It's the *grant* which allows YOU to choose which version of the GPL applies to YOU. As I said above, I know I'm being nit-picky. But
if you don't understand what you're doing, then you're going to get burnt at some point.

Point made. It could have been done without as many exclamation points and two lines of clarification text in your original reply.

Sorry. That's just my writing style when I want to be emphatic.

I know. But I was trying to respond to what I perceived as your reasons for bringing this into the issue.

I'm bringing it into the issue because I think your statement that relicensing takes away rights is incorrect. Some relicensing does, but others do not.

I then gave examples.

And I can understand why those owners became perturbed. Because they had chosen GFDL and were shocked that *someone* *else* could
change that to CC. I would be shocked. Which is why I prefer licences that DON'T allow relicencing.

Then be shocked. But the GNU licenses do allow relicensing, as I've pointed out in the LGPL and the GFDL. That you don't like them doesn't mean that they aren't still free licenses designed to not take away rights.

If the Program specifies that a certain numbered version of the GNU General Public License “or any later version” applies to it, you have the
option of following the terms and conditions either of that numbered version or of any later version published by the Free Software Foundation. If
the Program does not specify a version number of the GNU General Public License, you may choose any version ever published by the Free
Software Foundation.

Will the BLACK LETTER of the GPL convince you otherwise? The statement in v3 that sublicensing is not permitted? The statement in both v2
and v3 that - if it's MY code, your recipients get their licence from ME not you?

Except that the above text is NOT PART OF THE LICENCE.

If this is true then I can no longer make any statements about the license. The above text ("If the Program specifies that a certain numbered version of the GNU General Public License ... ") comes from

  14. Revised Versions of this License.

in the section labeled "Terms And Conditions". If that is not part of the license then I don't know what makes something part of the license.

To quote you fully:

the above text is NOT PART OF THE LICENCE. Yes, it's included in the licence text but legally it has absolutely nothing to do with the licence
itself. It's just a recommendation as to the text of the licence *grant* - a legally separate entity - which you need to have as well as the licence
itself before you have the right to do anything otherwise forbidden by copyright law.

If this section is not part of the license then which other parts of the T&C are not part of the license? Is it only section 14 which has "absolutely nothing to do with the license itself"? Or can I also ignore section 8? Section 3?

My best interpretation is that you did not read what I wrote and assumed I repeated the text which suggests how to word the grant. Section 14 is obviously a section on how to interpret the grant.

Correct :-(

Mind you, I wonder how a Judge would interpret it ...

If the Program just said "GPL" and the grant just said "GPL", would the Judge say "okay, you can choose v3 and v3 gives you the right to choose v1 or v2", or would he say "the grant is ambiguous therefore invalid", or would he say "seeing as it doesn't specify a version, the only reasonable assumption is it means 'the only version' and the only one that ever satisfied that was v1".

So. Does section 14 actually make legal sense? Me dunno ... but it was written by a lawyer ...

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

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