The regrettable use of "all" in Section 7 of the GPL

Arnoud Engelfriet galactus at
Thu Feb 19 21:38:33 UTC 2004

Bjorn Reese wrote:
> On Thu, 2004-02-19 at 14:23, John Cowan wrote:
> > Therefore, the distribution of all GPLed software is, at least in
> > the U.S., forbidden by the terms of the GPL, and should come to a
> > screeching halt.  I have spoken.
> The probationer is not prevented from distributing the software
> because of patent restrictions.

Section 7 of the GPL is not just about patents. The first
sentence contains
"If, ... for any other reason (not limited to patent issues),
conditions are imposed on you..."

But I had always interpreted this clause to only apply to _me_
as licensee. It shouldn't matter to me that there is someone
else who cannot "satisfy simultaneously [his] obligations under
[the GPL]". 

Bill Gates could contract with Steve Ballmer that he will not ever
distribute GPL-licensed software. Surely that couldn't have the
consequence that *I* can no longer distribute that software?


Arnoud Engelfriet, Dutch patent attorney - Speaking only for myself
Patents, copyright and IPR explained for techies:
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