Combining GPL and non-GPL code
chris at metatrontech.com
Fri Aug 17 23:17:24 UTC 2007
First I appologize to Andrew Wilson for not attributing his comments
when quoting them.
Chuck Swiger wrote:
> The BSD license does not mention relicensing anywhere, only:
> "Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without
> modification, are permitted provided...."
> It is commonly understood that this permits people to modify BSD
> licensed code and place the resulting derivative work under the terms
> of another license so long as the other license preserves the original
> copyright notice and BSD license text. I would term this "sublicensing".
I don't think the following points apply in any way safely. IANAL though.
1) Unmodified BSD code available to the general public but distributed
by the same individual in a different program under the GPL cannot be
reverted to the BSD license. If it is available to the general public
under the BSDL, I would argue that any member of the general public has
permission to use it under that license, wherever they got the code.
This case is stronger where the content is relicensed by a third party
under the GPL because they may not have a strong claim to the copyrights
of the code in question when divorced from the rest of their application.
2) That code in a GPL application which is still bears BSDL licenses in
the files cannot be reverted to BSDL just because it came from a GPL
app. I don't read the GPL as requiring that an author relicense BSDL
code under the GPL as a condition for including it. If in doubt, one
may look for other ways to incorporate code incompatible with the GPL
alongside code derived from GPL code (IANAL, but I would think the
proprietary code would need to be nonderivative and the work you
distribute would need to be arguably separate from the GPL'd work, thus
limiting derivate portions to something that could exist under the LGPL).
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