Combining GPL and non-GPL code

Matthew Flaschen matthew.flaschen at
Thu Aug 2 06:13:26 UTC 2007

Roger Fujii wrote:
> John Cowan wrote:
>> Wilson, Andrew scripsit:
>>> and that the creator of such a combination must place additional terms
>>> and conditions, in the form of GPL, on the underlying non-GPL license.
>> I disagree.
>> In particular, I hold that although the work as a whole can only be
>> distributed under the terms of the GPL, any parts that you receive
>> with BSD (or similar) licenses applying to them (which may not be
>> removed, by their own terms) may be distributed by you under the
>> said terms, with no GPL restrictions.
> This is incorrect.  Though in practice, it would be difficult
> to prove a violation (assuming all you did was copy the GPL license
> on top of the BSD code), or that anyone would really care.

If there is an unmodified (I'm saying unmodified for simplicity.  But 
i's possible modifications are also under BSD) BSD component in a GPL 
work, the user of the GPL work can see for themselves that the BSD 
author is giving BSD permissions to all third parties.  It doesn't 
matter which physical copy of the BSD work they use, or who they got it 
from; they have the permissions granted by the copyright holder.

Matt Flaschen

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