Converting/Splitting Code - Open to Closed

Eric Jacobs eaj at
Mon Feb 12 22:27:13 UTC 2001

Brian DeSpain <bdespain at>

> Yes - but the previous versions licensed under the GPL remain GPLd and
> development can continue on the code.

Can you explain why this is the case?

> > In reality, the code would most likely *fork,* leaving one strand open 
> > and the other proprietary.
> That's exactly what would happen and that's why the GPL is there in the 
> first place. The copyright owner retains copyright, therefore can make 
> changes. You cannot retroactively change licenses under the GPL. People 
> retain their original rights under the GPL.

How can licensees retain their rights against the copyright owner's
will? Is there something in the GPL that requires this?

More information about the License-discuss mailing list