For Approval: GPLv3

Chris Travers chris at
Sat Aug 25 18:14:30 UTC 2007

I have changed my mind.  I now once again would object to the OSI 
approving this license on the grounds that it affects other software 
well beyond the scope of any other approved license.  IANAL, of course.  
This is also my copyright misuse issue, since it seems to provide a 
copyright holder with an obligation to grant others the right to further 
restrictions beyond what he/she grants himself simply due to rights of 

I think there *is* cause not to approve under the fact that the GPL v3 
affects other software, i.e. extends copyright control to include forced 
relicensing of any dependencies that a programmer chooses to use.

1)  The Corresponding Source Code includes all dynamically linked 
libraries beyond system libraries and "Major Components."
2)  The Corresponding Source Code must be licensed under the GPL v3 as a 
whole.  Section 6.
3)  The GPL v3 defines additional terms, permissive or non-permissive as 
including other software licenses. Section 7, final paragraph.
4)  The GPL v3 allows removing additional permissive terms (outside the 
basic GPL v3) to any portion of the work covered under the GPL v3.  This 
would include anything under the Corresponding Source.  This can be done 
by anyone who "conveys" the software and thus does not require any 
copyrights of his own in a derivative work.  Section 7, paragraph 2.
5)  Non-permissive terms may be removed also (section 7)

The net effect of this is that the GPL v3 gives someone the right to 
remove license exceptions, additional permissions, etc. simply based on 
the fact that they distribute the software, not based on any derivative 
works created.  Furthermore, this cannot be enforced as mere copyright 
infringement because the copyrights of the original author would not be 
infringed if someone removed permissions without creating a new work (as 
would be the case of someone who merely conveys the software).  This 
further causes issues because the copyright holder of the GPL v3 
software determines what other works beyond his copyright ownership to 
extend these terms to.  This is not the case with the GPL v2.

There will no doubt be objection by people stating that the GPL has 
similar terms.  However it does not.  The GPL v2 does *not* appear to 
require that every part of the complete corresponding source code is 
licensed under the GPL.  For this reason, one might be able to argue 
that a component under, say, the MS-RL (not Open Source or Free 
Software) would be acceptable as it was only included in the 
corresponding source under the mere aggregation clause (perhaps even 
distributed separately), and because the GPL v2 explicitly disclains the 
only reasonable interpretation of the GPL v3 (that it is intended to 
control any component under GPL distribution when distributed separately).

Requested remedies:
1)  Remove the ability of downstream distributors to drop additional 
permissive terms under section 7, paragraph 2; or
2) Remove the requirement to distribute the corresponding source code as 
a whole under the GPL v3; or
3)  Remove the ability of the downstream distributors to drop additional 
permissive terms to components in the GPL work that they do not own 
copyrights to.

Best Wishes,
Chris Travers
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: chris.vcf
Type: text/x-vcard
Size: 171 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <>

More information about the License-discuss mailing list