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Re: Overview of copyright issues

From: Hans Aberg
Subject: Re: Overview of copyright issues
Date: Thu, 10 Sep 2009 09:30:57 +0200

On 10 Sep 2009, at 08:35, Anthony W. Youngman wrote:

"Or later" will admit later restrictions, "or latest" will impose them quietly on old sources.

And this is EXACTLY the problem with your suggestion. You are RETROACTIVELY CHANGING THE LICENCE!

As has been pointed out elsewhere, this will have the effect of making what was legal, illegal. What happens if v4 comes out and Joe Bloggs never hears about it? He was happily distributing under v3 perfectly legally, now he's happily distributing under v3 ILLEGALLY.

As with all copyrights, one will have to check with the owner of the copyright the conditions valid at the distribution conditions are at the time of distribution. Recall that nowadays copyrightable material becomes copyrighted without any copyright notice or registration.

The idea with a copyright license is to simplify the procedure.

I'm not a lawyer, but if I came across "v2 or latest" wording, my advice would be to treat it as "v2 only" because to do anything else IS TOO DANGEROUS. So your wording is self-defeating because no sane distributor would dare take advantage of the "or latest" clause.

That seems to be the case: at least for new restrictions, "or later" essentially useless.

So it is probably simplest to just update the license when you have time. All these GPLs are probably reasonable for LilyPond


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