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Re: copyright

On Tue, 8 Sep 1998, Havoc Pennington wrote:

> Not true. The original author can release the code under two licenses.
> Perl for example.

He says that he gives permission for you to distribute it either
under GPL or the PAL but you much choose one or the other. This was done
specificly for Debian.

    This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify
    it under the terms of either:

        a) the GNU General Public License as published by the Free
        Software Foundation; either version 1, or (at your option) any
        later version, or

        b) the "Artistic License" which comes with Debian.

[minor snippage]

    For those of you that choose to use the GNU General Public License,
    my interpretation of the GNU General Public License is that no Perl
    script falls under the terms of the GPL unless you explicitly put
    said script under the terms of the GPL yourself. 

> No. The original author can release the new version under any license they
> want. Or even the same version under two licenses. Licenses are not
> binding on the copyright holder.
> Examples: Perl, Alladin GhostScript, anything LGPL'd.

Perl was not released under GPL, a modification was made specificly for
debian to allow others to redistribute it under GPL if they wish but the
original code for perl from Larry Wall is PAL.

Also, this is unenforceable. If you take a chunk of GPL code and use it in
your program it must also be GPL. If you take a chunk of PAL code and put
it in your program you DO NOT need to make it free. Now, how is anyone to
tell if you lifted a chunk of GPL perl source code or PAL perl source
code? It is the same source code that someone decided to distribute under

My feeling is that the GPL conflicts with anything else. It must be GPL or
not GPL it can not be two things.

The problem is GPL is "sticky". ONLY the original author may change the
license ... I agree (but RMS does not, he says once GPL, always GPL but he
is not going to enforce it. The author only has control by default since
RMS is leaving it up to the author to press copyright violation charges).
Now let's say the author dies. If I use a single line of that code, I must
release my code GPL. 

> Even without involving the original author, if the second license permits
> the GPL to be applied - e.g. an X-style license allows this - you can add
> the GPL as an alternative license and continue to provide the code under
> both. 

I suppose you could issue two complete source, one non-GPL and the other
GPL but again, how can you enforce it on derivative works? Isn't that the
whole point of GPL? How will someone know which version was
copied/modified? In practice, you can not have both.

George Bonser

The Linux "We're never going out of business" sale at an FTP site near you!

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