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Re: [gNewSense-users] Linus' statement about copyright

From: Paul O'Malley - gnu's not unix -
Subject: Re: [gNewSense-users] Linus' statement about copyright
Date: Thu, 08 Jan 2009 23:15:26 +0000
User-agent: Thunderbird (X11/20090105)

Matthew Flaschen wrote:
Matthew J. Fisher wrote:
This implies that any kernel files, in which Linus and other authors
assert copyright without specifying a license, really are covered under
the GPLv2 as stated in the COPYING file. Anything else would be

Also, at Sam mentioned a few weeks ago, copyright always applies --
whether or not it is asserted. So this is not much of a special case.

I agree.

Still, people ARE sometimes illogical. It wouldn't hurt to document
these buglets, and let RMS see if he can obtain confirmation that the
files are free.


The correct place to address licensing questions is to:

In the main it is when you find something that is not quite the GPL or something that is not quite the source.

As for files that are not documented I think like this:
What would a
                -- Project Copyright licence --

cover, and it seems to me that it would cover all below.

root of source tree
                 FileN ----------------------FileN+1

Where a project has an explicit copyright, look only for deiviations from that, and look for items that contradict that (blobs), all else is a waste of time unless a court of law tells you otherwise (IANAL etc).

It is most likely fair to do this, other things are not hitting targets we want to hit, when we define what we can't have, then we are left with what we can have.

While this does not deal with every edge case it is a good general rule.
In reality if you have a good understanding of what you are at then you would only have to send edge cases to address@hidden

The reason I am suggesting you use something like that rule is that people behind address@hidden are fairly busy, adding things to their list that are solvable in other ways.

The easy way to evaluate the software licence is to do this.

Does it pass the four freedoms.
Each one provides a separate test.
If so, then there should be no problem.

If it fails then the question is "how is it non free", with this new knowledge you could ask the author (very politely) to consider an alternative or dual licence.

If the code contains other peoples contributions then they too have rights in there, so they too have to be asked. The best example of this is the GLX case.



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