Is it possible to sue infringers under the GPL?

John Cowan jcowan at
Fri Mar 10 15:01:05 UTC 2000

David Johnson wrote:

> If someone sends me a patch with no notice of copyright in the patch, but an
> attached email that says "here's a fix for your code", who does it belong to? I
> assume that I can use it in my own code as if it were mine, no questions asked.

IANAL, but I think you can treat that as a constructive license, since a
non-exclusive copyright license need not be in writing.  Of course, adding the
patcher's name to the contributors list is a matter of civility, not law.


Schlingt dreifach einen Kreis vom dies! || John Cowan <jcowan at>
Schliesst euer Aug vor heiliger Schau,  ||
Denn er genoss vom Honig-Tau,           ||
Und trank die Milch vom Paradies.            -- Coleridge (tr. Politzer)

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