For Approval: GPLv3

Matthew Flaschen matthew.flaschen at
Tue Aug 28 08:46:18 UTC 2007

Chris Travers wrote:
> There is another possibility too, as I think about it.  When a fork arises,
> often one of the first items is to remove all trademarks, add new ones, add
> new copyright statements (leaving the old ones in and dating the changes)
> etc.  The idea is that one might want to essentially declare that any
> further changes to code would be encumbered such that those permissions
> would not be valid.
> I suppose this is reasonable if it is the intent.  I just wish it were more
> clear in the license itself.

That's basically the idea (along with ensuring various weird sets of
GPLv3+permissions don't cause compatibility problems).  Sure, GPL lets
you remove the permissions without changing anything, but there's no
point in doing so.  The FOSS world doesn't stand still.

> Hmmm....  I suppose that a way around this is to use an additional term to
> state that this license gives no trademark licenses and then issue a
> separate trademark license which states what you aspects of the GPL3 you
> cannot excersize without first removing the trademarks from the program.

I'm not sure what you mean.  You /can/ have a restriction "Declining to
grant rights under trademark law for use of some [...] trademarks"  and
then a separate permission to use the trademark for unmodified
distribution only ("Additional permissions may be written to require
their own removal in certain cases when you modify the work.")

> This could include things like removing the trademarks from the program
> *before* removing additional permissions.

You can only add additional permissions for new code you own, that you
add to the program.  To add that new code, you'd have to make a
modification, which would trigger the trademark removal.

> Not that this is a bad thing-- it
> is just complicated.

It's designed to accomodate a lot of upstream licenses and desires.

> The ability to remove Additional Permissions and ignore
>> Further Restrictions ensures that any copy of GPL v3, no matter how
>> mutated, can be restored to the original GPL v3 in the next generation.
> It still seems like something easy to convert to but hard to convert from.

That's about right.  The important thing is that all GPLv3+X code can be
reduced to GPLv3, /if necessary/.

Matt Flaschen

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