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Re: Differences ...


From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: Differences ...
Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2004 13:28:53 +0900
User-agent: Gnus/5.1006 (Gnus v5.10.6) XEmacs/21.4 (Portable Code, linux)

>>>>> "Stefan" == Stefan Monnier <address@hidden> writes:

    >> [1] You don't think it's bizarre?  Well, as a potential
    >> consumer of GNU Emacs Mule code, I have to wonder what that
    >> license can say that is GPL-compatible but not covered by the
    >> GPL, and whether a downstream GPL licensee is bound by that
    >> contract that he has never seen, etc, etc.

    Stefan> The legal paperwork (i.e. copyright assignment) doesn't
    Stefan> have to do with the GPL as such.  I.e. it's needed to get
    Stefan> assurances that the GPL license does not give, basically
    Stefan> assurance that "it is really GPL and will stay that way".

That's what the FSF says, and I trust the FSF.  But my point is that
the Copyright in those files says ETL, the license says "to the FSF"
and not to whoever happens to come into possession of the software,
and I don't know what might be in there.  Remember what Microsoft did
to Sun with their Java license?  Or take the SCO case, which turns on
exactly this point of the right to sublicense.

Assignment, on the other hand, is a simple concept with a long, long
legal history.  There is essentially no risk of screwing that up.

This doesn't bother me in practice, obviously---I take the GPL notices
at face value, and will deal with any problems that arise ex post.  I
still consider this licensing arrangement less than transparent, and
bizarre in the context of the FSF's normal transparent policy.  Ask
Handa-san, I bet he'll tell you the same.  (He might not sign off on
"bizarre," but "okashii", definitely.  :-)


-- 
Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences     http://turnbull.sk.tsukuba.ac.jp
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
               Ask not how you can "do" free software business;
              ask what your business can "do for" free software.


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