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Re: [DotGNU]Licenses

From: Gopal V
Subject: Re: [DotGNU]Licenses
Date: Sat, 22 Jun 2002 21:21:17 +0530
User-agent: Mutt/1.2.5i

If memory serves me right, Daniel Carrera wrote:
> I have a question about law.  I need some help understanding licenses.
> Understanding this will help me know when licenses are being broken.

(Eventhough this might be better answered on gnu.misc.discuss , I will
 however provide a general explanation and end this thread... and IMO a
 decent readthrough of the licenses section/FAQ should answer 

> A project might start using the X11 license and then switch to the LGPL.
> How can that be? How can you add or take aways restrictions afterwards?

This cannot be applied to the released binary/code if the license does
not specify a volatile clause .. This "this license is liable to change" 
clause can be used to relicense already distributed binaries/code ...

This is possible only because the user does not own the binary , but
is merely licensed by a one ended license agreement which can be withdrawn
with or without explicit cause .. Which obviously goes to prove that
the WinME that John Doe bought with precious $$$ , can be considered
illegal if MSFT does not like Mrs John Doe's new hairstyle and decides
to withdraw license ;-) ... you might see Win9x being declared illegal
soon and everyone forced to buy *new* and *slower* version  (a step 
which is legally enforcable ....) or use GNU !

For non volatile or "Safe" licenses like GPL, LGPL , X11 existing code
base cannot be relicensed ... only further releases can be relicensed .
See PHP4 & PHP3 licenses for this situation, where the latter is still 
available under the original license.

> 2) If I hold the copyright to a pice of software.  Say it's GPL.
> Do I have the right to give that software to someone under a different
> license? If so, that is a potential hamper on freedom.

Right to relicense ?. Yes , you do have that "Freedom" .. It however
is hoped that you won't misuse this freedom ... (It is a "Freedom" of 
the little guy who slaved to write the code ...)

The difference between insanity and genius is measured by success

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