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Re: Mathworks-hosted GPL'd software

From: Judd Storrs
Subject: Re: Mathworks-hosted GPL'd software
Date: Mon, 15 Feb 2010 13:17:46 -0500

2010/2/15 Jaroslav Hajek <address@hidden>:
> The problem is that you actually do not obtain a BSD-licensed source.

Really? When I click on the license.txt file in MatlabCentral I see
the BSD license. When I open the zip file I just downloaded I see the
BSD license.

> By downloading anything from the FX service, you agree to the ToS, so
> you're bound by the additional restrictions therein.

If I have the files who says I got them from FX or that I agreed to
the ToS? I don't have an account there. Even ignoring the fact that
the use restriction is not part of the actual license, the ToS does
not forbid redistribution under the terms of the BSD-license.
Mathworks can try to make it difficult to obtain the files from their
site, they cannot simply relicense them. They are not a copyright
holder and have no ownership claim to the files at all (exceptions for
packages authored or possibly contributed substantively to by
Mathworks employees). What the ToS does allow is for the Mathworks do
disable accounts and delete user contributed material. Ultimately it
is the copyright holder that is distributing the files--and that
always happens under their terms.

> I don't see how
> BSD (unlike GPL) explicitly forbids adding additional restrictions.

The BSD isn't explicit about it because it's implicit from copyright
law. If you're certain about the correctness of your opinion, I have a
task for you:

1) Download the the OpenBSD source tree.
2) Modify the headers of all the files to inject a use restriction
that forbids use of alpha processors.
3) Publicly distribute your source.
4) Announce on address@hidden that you intend to sue the OpenBSD
project for violation of your new restriction.


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