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Re: updating GPL to version 3?

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: updating GPL to version 3?
Date: Wed, 01 Jul 2009 13:13:58 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.0.92 (gnu/linux)

Mark Polesky <address@hidden> writes:

> Jan Nieuwenhuizen wrote:
>> 1 there is a basic consensus amongst the core developers
>>   that a move to GPL v3 (not sure about GPL v3 or later)
>>   is desirable
>> 2a Han-Wen even has done quite a bit of initial paperwork
>> 2b no-one has offered to do the work of tracking down and
>>     get permissions/paper work for the remaining authors
>> 2c Han-Wen is not easily inspired to do silly admin stuff
>>     esp. sot so when attempted to muscle him into it with
>>     "do what I tell you" disguised in invalid
>>     thou-must-bow-for-the-almighty-GNU arguments :-)
>> 3 there is a possibility of transferring copyright to
>>   the FSF [or another governing entity], which could
>>   have a simplifying/catalizing effect on 1 and/or 2

Transferring copyright requires the same tracking paperwork.  The
advantage is that this needs to be done just once.  But first the FSF
has to agree to take over the copyright.  Which will usually mean that
it also needs one maintainer who is willing to bother with keeping the
stuff properly assigned and contributors willing to sign stuff.

In short: you just get to pick your nuisances.

> I think guile is FSF-copyrighted, and they require all
> contributors of patches longer than 10 lines to sign
> copyright papers, which seems burdensome to me. I mean,
> I was going to contribute patches to guile, but I was
> turned off by having to mail my signature or something.

Try hunting down one contributor 10 years afterwards and get him to
agree to some change in license, policy.  Then repeat this 100 times,
partly having to ask the heirs of people to agree to things which they
have no clue whatsoever about.  At some point of time you'll find doing
that right away the minor nuisance.

> But if the program benefits from that, I guess I could deal. It just
> seemed off-putting. Seemed like more of an obstacle to development
> than a catalyst.

It definitely is.  But it avoids stifling the legal situation at some
later point of time.

> However, I am somewhat naive regarding a lot of this.

Copyright and its execution and things like "estoppel" and "dirty hands"
have gone completely bonkers.  It is a complete bunch of idiocy.

But as long as lawmakers and courts take it seriously, you don't improve
your situation by ignoring what they do.

David Kastrup

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