Get ready....

Tim Pierce twp at
Wed Apr 14 20:24:28 UTC 1999

On Wed, Apr 14, 1999 at 07:42:35PM -0000, bruce at wrote:
> Of course you must prohibit modification of the instance of a license that
> is actually used to protect someone's copyright, or it isn't of any use in
> protecting the copyright. It's OK for a _prototype_ license to be modified,
> though, and then instantiated as a real software license that can not be
> further modified. Whether this is allowed or not is up to the license
> author.

I'm not sure I understand the distinction.  If I "modify" the GPL,
then I can't claim special rights to the Emacs source code -- it was
released under the Real GPL, not Tim's GPL.  I also can't re-release a
modified Emacs under Tim's GPL, because the Real GPL forbids that.  My
modified GPL can be applied only to software packages under my

In other words, any modification to a license is effectively modifying
a "prototype" license for use with a real software package.  But maybe
I don't understand what you were trying to say.

It would be interesting to find out whether the text of a license can
itself be protected as intellectual property, or whether the license
is by its nature public domain or otherwise free.

Tim Pierce
RootsWeb Genealogical Data Cooperative
system obfuscator and hack-of-all-trades

More information about the License-discuss mailing list