many flavors of non-copyleft

Scott Johnston johnston at
Wed Feb 16 17:38:41 UTC 2000

>And then there are some BSD and MIT adherents who
>claim that their licenses do not allow relicensing their original code under
>the GPL.

It's worth noting that the BSD (old and new) and X11 licenses have different
terms for copyright and permission notice preservation.  And there are
others lumped under the non-copyleft term.  InterViews was developed by a
former BSD'er, and licensed by Stanford with these words:

 * Permission to use, copy, modify, distribute, and sell this software and
 * related documentation and data files for any purpose is hereby granted
 * without fee, provided that the above copyright notice appear in all
 * and that both that copyright notice and this permission notice appear in
 * supporting documentation, and that the names of the copyright holders not
 * be used in advertising or publicity pertaining to distribution of the
 * software without specific, written prior permission.  

This reads differently than the others, and seems to clarify intent about
the permissibility of relicensing.  It makes a distinction between copyright
notice and permission notice, and says only the copyright (the Copyright (c)
199x statement) needs to be retained in the source code.  A copy of the
original permission notice must exist in the documentation, but it does not
say it has to remain in force on the source code.  I've always interpreted
it as a mechanism for guaranteeing that third parties who receive derivative
works will be informed of the availability of the original work, and a hedge
against plagiarism.  But I've heard the alternate interpretation as well.

Scott Johnston

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