GPLv2 'web-app loophole'

Eric Jacobs eaj at
Tue Aug 7 03:56:14 UTC 2001

"Karsten M. Self" <kmself at> writes

> Under copyright, display and public performance rights may be reserved, 
> but these rights are not claimed (or rather, are disclaimed) by the GPL. 
> Or at least that's the conventional wisdom understanding of:
>     GPL v2 0:
>     Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not 
> covered by this License; they are outside its scope.

Which brings up an interesting point: if these other activities are truly
outside the scope of the GPL, and thus the GPL says nothing about them,
then they are still exclusive rights of the author, and a user must obtain
an additional license from the author in order to do them.

Another troublesome area in the same way is the last paragraph of Section
2. Mere aggregation of another work with the Program may well be
a derivative work. What the GPL means is that there should be no restriction
on such works. What it ends up saying is that no one is allowed to create
them at all.

A technicality, for sure, but it is important to get these kinds of 
things right in a serious document like a software license.

I do hope this is fixed in GPL v3.


More information about the License-discuss mailing list