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Re: GPL with exclusive re-licensing exception (BSD3)

"IOhannes m zmölnig (Debian/GNU)" <umlaeute@debian.org> writes:

I am not a lawyer, this is not a legal advice.

> is it possible/feasible/DFSG-compatible to have software licensed under
> the GPL2+, but with a special explicit license-grant as BSD-3 to a
> single person for a specific project?

Whether is feasible, depends on what are you trying to achieve, but
there is no such *permissive* exception from a free software licence
that makes it non-free (= DFSG-incompatible).  When it is done
correctly, of course.

> something like the following:

Honestly, I do not think that this is a good wording.

>> # License Grant
>> FROBNOZZLE is released under the Gnu GPL version 2 (or later).
>> See LICENSE.md for the full text of the GPLv2.

There is a canonical header for GNU GPL-covered files — you could find
it in the GNU GPL itself under ‘How to apply...’ section.  And I do not
see any reason to avoid using it.  For the GNU GPLv2+ it looks like

    Copyright (C) <years> <copyright-holder>

    This file is part of FROBNOZZLE.

    FROBNOZZLE is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
    it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
    the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or
    (at your option) any later version.

    FROBNOZZLE is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but
    WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
    General Public License for more details.

    You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
    along with FROBNOZZLE; if not, see <http://www.gnu.org/licenses>.

>> ## Special license grant to FOO BAR
>> I hereby grant FOO BAR the exclusive right to include FROBNOZZLE into
>> GOBBLEFUNK under the BSD 3-clause license under which GOBBLEFUNK is
>> currently released.
>> Once it has been included into GOBBLEFUNK. it is of course
>> re-distributable under that license. Until then, the Gnu GPL v2 (or
>> later) applies.

First of all, why singular ‘I’, if the whole point of this is to get this
permission from all contributors?

But what is more important, is that ‘BSD 3-clause license’ is not a
proper name of a licence to be referred solely by it.  The licence you
imply actually has no proper name, since it was intended merely as
in-project licence for BSD, not for a wide usage as GNU GPL was.  You
had better provide its full text [0].

As for the method of attaching an exception to GNU GPL, if you were used
the current version of GNU GPL (the third), then you could make use of a
nice mechanism of ‘additional permissions’ under section 7.  If you’d
like to stick to GNU GPLv2+, you have to be a bit more verbose.  In any
case see [1] for examples.

[0] http://directory.fsf.org/wiki/License:BSD_3Clause
[1] https://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#GPLIncompatibleLibs

> so the backstory is: upstream has written an extension FROBNOZZLE to the
> BSD3-licensed application GOBBLEFUNK. they would like to have it
> included into that application proper; but in the meantime or if the
> maintainer of GOBBLEFUNK is not interested, upstream would prefer if
> FROBNOZZLE was made available under the GPL.
> i guess, the normal way would be just to release under the GPL, and if
> necessary re-license the software under BSD after private negotiation
> with FOO BAR.
> however, re-licensing requires to contact all copyright holders, and
> have them agree on the new license.
> to ease this, upstream wants to get the permission of potential
> contributors for relicensing it under the more liberal license (under
> certain conditions).
> thus this make sense?

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