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Re: RFH: GPLv3

Brooks Moses wrote:
Robert Dewar wrote:
One could of course just take a blanket view that everything
on the site is, as of a certain moment, licensed under GPLv3
(note you don't have to change file headers to achieve this,
the file headers have no particular legal significance in
any case).

I'm going to pull a Wikipedia and call "citation needed" on that parenthetical claim.

Well the obvious citation is the copyright statutes themselves, probably not a bad idea to read them!

At the very least, the file headers are a clear representation as to what license the file is under, and IMO a reasonable person would expect to be able to rely on such a representation.

Well certainly it is good policy for headers to reflect the copyright and licensing situation, and of course we aim at that, that goes without saying. But no you cannot rely on this information, and a blanket copyright statement is a way of making sure that no possible case can arise in which someone says "but I thought this was still under the v2 GPL". Then you work hard to make ALL headers reflect the new status.

Thus, I think there's a reasonable argument to be made that distributing a GCC with some file headers saying "GPLv2 or later" and some saying "GPLv3 or later" is violating the license.

No, the position of the FSF (and it is a perfectly reasonable one) is that if a file header says GPLv2 or later, it is essentially a multiple distribution under all versions, so redistributing it as GPLv3 only is fine. it is nice if you do this to change the header, but there is nothing anywhere that requires this.

The FSF is allowed to violate their own license

That's a nonsense concept, there is no such thing as a license between party A and party A, so the notion of violating it is meaningless. Actually the whole notion of violating a license is a confused one. The violation is of the copyright, the license merely gives some cases in which copying is allowed. If you copy outside the license you have not "violated" the license, you have simply infringed the copyright, and the license is irrelevant.

And, regardless of whether one accepts that argument, if I were to pull a file with a GPLv2 header out of a "GPLv3-licensed" svn and give an exact copy of it to my friend, I would have to remember to tell her that the file isn't licensed under what it says it's licensed under. That's also not good.

Thus, I think it's reasonably critical that _all_ file headers be updated, quickly, to match the state of intended license for the files that include them.

I don't think anyone disagreed with this, so no need to argue against non-existent disagreement!

- Brooks

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