RFH: GPLv3

Michael Eager eager@eagercon.com
Sun Jul 15 17:34:00 GMT 2007


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.
> 
> 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.

Actually, this is a good point.  While the FSF may declare that all
patches after Aug 1 are GPLv3, unless they take affirmative action
to assert the copyright and license, courts may determine that they
waive rights under these.  Especially if a reasonable person would
expect copyright statements to be correct.

> 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.  The FSF is allowed to 
> violate their own license, since they hold the copyrights, but nobody 
> else is -- thus, a corrolary to that argument is that an exact copy of 
> such a GCC is not redistributable unless the redistributor fixes the 
> file headers.  That would be bad.
> 
> 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.

Yes, the situation seems chaotic and confusing.  Not a good thing.

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



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