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Re: ELPA license, LGPL + additional restrictions



On Fri, 02 Nov 2012 20:47:08 +0000 TRiG wrote:

> The first line of the LGPL is /Everyone is permitted to copy and 
> distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is 
> not allowed/. I understand that this restriction is intended to reduce 
> license proliferation.

This means that the text of the GNU LGPL cannot be modified.

> So is the ELPA actually allowed to add 
> restrictions to the LGPL?

I think this is a different question: the ELPA Consortium has not
modified the text of the GNU LGPL, as far as I can tell, but only added
further restrictions.

The point is whether those additional restrictions create a
self-contradictory (and thus invalid) licensing status for the ELPA
library. And whether those restrictions are effective.

The situation would be somewhat clearer for the ordinary GPL, since
section 10 of the GNU GPL v3 explicitly forbids the imposition of
further restrictions:

[...]
|   You may not impose any further restrictions on the exercise of the
| rights granted or affirmed under this License.
[...]

and section 7 says that any further restriction may be removed:

[...]
| If the Program as you
| received it, or any part of it, contains a notice stating that it is
| governed by this License along with a term that is a further
| restriction, you may remove that term.
[...]

Please note that the GNU GPL v3 defines "further restriction" as any
non-permissive additional term not explicitly allowed by section 7.

I think that the situation for the GNU LGPL v3 is less clear.

> If they want something that's almost LGPL, but 
> not quite, they surely have to write their own license, with different 
> wording./

Actually, the FSF gives permission to modify the text of the GNU GPL in
order to create a differently-named license:
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#ModifyGPL

Even though I cannot find any similar permission for the GNU LGPL, it's
possible that the FSF is similarly OK with the modification of the LGPL
text, under similar conditions...


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