Combining GPL and non-GPL code

Walter van Holst w.van.holst at
Thu Aug 2 18:27:21 UTC 2007

> -----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----
> Van: Wilson, Andrew [mailto:andrew.wilson at]
> Verzonden: donderdag 2 augustus 2007 20:16
> Aan: David Woolley; license-discuss at
> Onderwerp: RE: Combining GPL and non-GPL code

> Roger's argument, with which I complete concur, is that the
> end user who has received a copy from a distributor under GPL
> does not have sufficient rights to strip off GPL and revert
> to the original BSD.

In case the code was otherwise unaltered, I would lean towards the opinion that anyone can strip off GPL and revert to the original BSD.

>  Arguments which say it is ever valid to
> strip off GPL from a derivative, under any circumstances,
> will no doubt encounter stiff counter-arguments from GPL advocates.

Yup :-)

> > From a pragmatic point of view, although GPL requires you to
> mark source code changes, in the real world this doesn't
> always happen.  The user who has received a copy of a
> derivative should see the original BSD copyrights intact in
> the sources, but he/she is probably ill-advised to assume the
> original code is also intact.  If the code does contain any
> modifications, if those modifications are made to a GPL'd
> derivative they are automatically GPL.  If this user really
> wants the original BSD code under a BSD license then he/she
> would be well advised, IMO, to find a pristine original copy
> which has not passed through a distribution chain under GPL.

Which is precisely what I would advice any client of mine. In case the client doesn't mind to be in court, he could consider the option of holding the opinion that since no changes were marked he had a reasonable expectation of the code being unaltered and therefore having the right to strip the GPL from it. I wouldn't try that at home.



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