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Re: Overview of copyright issues

From: Reinhold Kainhofer
Subject: Re: Overview of copyright issues
Date: Wed, 9 Sep 2009 22:26:53 +0200
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Am Mittwoch, 9. September 2009 20:53:21 schrieb Hans Aberg:
> On 9 Sep 2009, at 20:30, Joseph Wakeling wrote:
> > The whole point of this formulation is to give users of the program
> > the
> > option to choose which version of the license they want to be bound by
> > if they redistribute or modify the code, and in particular to make it
> > easy for a project to upgrade the license OR NOT.
> You might check with the GNUers if it is the intention. 

One intention is also to not retroactively change the license terms and make 
somthing legal suddenly illegal. That's called "legal certainty". 

> It means that
> sources can be tivoized, even in the face of the new v3.

Sources that could be tivoized (i.e. they were released under GPL 2 and can 
thus always be used under the GPL v2) can still be tivoized - that's the 
intention of the GPL not to take away rights retroactively. 

If you are working with a version, where the license allows tivoization (i.e. 
GPL 2), then you should be assured that you can keep doing this (with this 
exact version, of course, not necessarily with future versions) in the future. 
Your wording would e.g. turn users of the GPL 3  suddenly into license 
violators, should the FSF release a new version. (This is a severe legal 
problem, since suddenly someone would be in violation, even though neither he 
nor the licensor did anything - That might even be struck as invalid by a 
court!) If you can legally use some source code today, you need to be sure 
that doing the exact same thing will still be legal tomorrow. Everything else 
would be Suicide for Open Source!

I'm sure the FSF people thought through the "or later" wording and put that in 
for a reason... After all, that's one very fundamental part to prevent future 
legal problems. 


- -- 
- ------------------------------------------------------------------
Reinhold Kainhofer, address@hidden,
 * Financial & Actuarial Math., Vienna Univ. of Technology, Austria
 *, DVR: 0005886
 * LilyPond, Music typesetting,
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