For Approval: GPLv3

Chris Travers chris at
Sat Aug 25 04:21:17 UTC 2007

Hi all;

This is not opposition to rejection but just something I have been 
thinking about as other discussions have occurred.  I believe that it is 
not a bad idea to establish a public record of concerns about licenses 
as they are approved, and this is offered in that light.

IANAL.  I am a software developer.  Although I see no way we can avoid 
approving the license, I wonder if we are doing programmers a great 
disservice by doing so.  One of the other developers on one of my 
projects has raised the issue of copyright misuse and the GPL v3 in 
license upgrade discussions.  "Copyright Misuse" is a term that, as I 
have looked it up, ought to strike terror in the hearts of fellow OSS 

As I understand it, if any part of the GPL v3 (particularly the 
compulsion to relicense) were found to be a misuse of copyright law, it 
would provide a defense against an attempt to enforce copyrights on the 
works we create.  As I understand it (IANAL) copyright misuse occurs 
when copyright owners seek to use copyright law to magnify their rights 
beyond those of copyright law.  Since this doesn't invalidate the 
license, it only precludes enforcement of infringement claims, it could 
effectively leave programmers finding that their copyrights were 
meaningless and they had even fewer rights than had they chosen the MIT 

I do not think that it is the OSI's place to enter into opinions as to 
whether a given license reaches too far.  But I do think that it is a 
good thing to let other programmers, distributors, etc. on this list and 
readers of the archives know that there are people who have such a 
concern.  This goes well beyond questions of "copyleft theory."

Best Wishes,
Chris Travers
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