Combining GPL and non-GPL code

Matthew Flaschen matthew.flaschen at
Sat Aug 4 02:50:29 UTC 2007

Roger Fujii wrote:

> I write program A.  I put BSD license headers on it, intending to 
> release it under BSD.
> I then change my mind, and I place the GPL on top of program A, not 
> removing the BSD
> parts because I'm lazy.  I give you program A under the GPL.

If the BSD headers were still there, I got it under both BSD and GPL.

>   B) I gave you the program under the conditions of the GPL.

You gave me it under my choice of license.

 > I could even give someone else Program A under
> BSD.  As long as I can prove that you didn't get it from them, you are 
> bound by GPL.

I am not a lawyer, but I think the BSD is meant to be a license for all 
third parties, regardless of where they get the code.  This seems like a 
meaningless dispute, though.  If you release one copy under the BSD, why 
try to keep other identical copies proprietary or more restricted?

> Another analogous examples would be if you distribute GPL program B.   
> Even if program B was written by someone else, and can be freely gotten on sourceforge, you 
> are still REQUIRED to give someone who got it from yopu the source if they ask you 
> for it (at least for GPL2).   Same principle.  Path matters.

This is an invalid analogy.  GPL specifically imposes the source 
requirement on each /distributor/.

Matt Flaschen

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