Question about the GPL v3

Donovan Hawkins hawkins at
Sun Aug 19 18:24:05 UTC 2007

On Sun, 19 Aug 2007, Chris Travers wrote:

> I don't read the GPL v3 as precluding other permissive terms, possibly on a 
> per-file basis.  Is there any reason to think that an individual implementing 
> an additional interactive interface by adding new files to a program could 
> not provide permission to omit the legal notices for the interfaces provided 
> in the file?  (i.e. "you have permission to implement the interactive 
> interfaces in this file without adding Appropriate Legal notices as otherwise 
> required by the license")

IANAL, but I think you would need to obtain that permission from all GPL 
v3 code used in the project, not just from the code that implements the 
additional interface. If you used my code in your program, then my use of 
unmodified GPL v3 requires that you include Appropriate Legal Notices on 
any interface that invokes my code. You would probably even have to use 
them on all interfaces of a program that contains my code, regardless of 
whether that interface can invoke my code.

Otherwise you could simply replace all the interfaces of my program, add 
your permissive terms to those interfaces, and you would have a version of 
my program with no notices. Interfaces are often trivial in comparison to 
the program itself, so this would be a very easy way to circumvent GPL v3 
if it were allowed.

Donovan Hawkins, PhD                 "The study of physics will always be
Software Engineer                     safer than biology, for while the
hawkins at                   hazards of physics drop off as 1/r^2,                biological ones grow exponentially."

More information about the License-discuss mailing list