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Re: RFH: GPLv3


Richard Kenner wrote:
You are assuming here that the patch ITSELF has some license that's applied
to it irrespective of the file it was derived from and I don't see the
legal basis for such a claim.
Your patch, once accepted by the FSF, becomes their property, and the
FSF, not you, determines the license the *patch* will be covered by.
They can, if they wish, decide that every patch will be covered by
GPLv3.  They can, if they wish, decide that some patches will be covered
by GPLv3 and others by GPLv2.  They can use whatever scheme that they
wish to decide which license to apply to the patch, including schemes
which ignore the license of the original source.

Yes, they certainly *can*. But my question is whether they *have* and if so, who has done it and when. I've seen no evidence of any assertion ever of what license applies to a *patch*.

It is source, covered by the copyright assignment. The assignment, if I recall correctly, says that the FSF will distribute the source under license.

One person can't develop the same identical patch, as you posit,
from similar sources, and claim that they were independently
derived.  A derivative work is clearly covered by the same version
of GPL which the original was covered by.

Yes, sure, but the independent claim can clearly be made. Suppose I write a sed script to do an edit to a file. I do not look at two files, one of which is GPLv2 and one is GPLv3, but instead run the script on both of them and run diff to get a patch. There's no question that each of the resulting patches is covered by different versions of the GPL (by your last sentence). They are clearly independent because there was no possible vehicle for "contamination" (I didn't look at the files). But if they end up as identical, we now have two identical patches that have difference licenses.

This is tedious. The result of a sed script is not a creative work.


This is why there are "clean room" implementations of proprietary software
-- to prevent just the copyright contamination which you describe.

Yes, but we're talking about *patches* here, where the underlying license derives from the file being patched, not the patch itself. There's a big difference!

I was talking about patches -- copyrightable creative works which may be assigned and licensed. You appear to be talking about something else.


-- Michael Eager eager@eagercon.com 1960 Park Blvd., Palo Alto, CA 94306 650-325-8077


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