For Approval: GPLv3

Chris Travers chris.travers at
Tue Aug 28 17:32:20 UTC 2007

On 8/28/07, Matthew Flaschen <matthew.flaschen at> wrote:
> > 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.")

I mean that section 7 allows one to disclaim trademark rights.  Hence one
can attach any other restrictions to a trademark license and force someone
to remove trademarks before excersizing any arbitrary set of rights granted
by the GPL.  THis seems to be the way around this.  For example, a trademark
could be applied to a work, and a license statign that the trademark could
only be used for verbatem copies could apply.  Thus if you wanted to modify
the code, you would have to strip the trademarks out first.  This seems

What I am trying to say is that this provides a way of addressing business
concerns about such matters.  Of course, the flip side is that it could be
used to add an arbitrary amount of work to a fork's initial outlay (or to
the excersize of any GPL-granted rights).  This might be an abuse according
to some but such an option is probably necessary.

> 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.

Well, it avoids my truth-in-advertising concerns because one can always say
"you must  not use this trademark with your product if you want to remove
these additional concerns."

> 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/.

This raises an interesting question of MS-PL compatibility.  The basic issue
one of how you define various notices and how one defines additional
permissions. However, absent how one wants to argue over words, there would
be no *functional* difference between an MS-PL file and a BSDL file with an
added term that original (i.e. not substantively altered) code fragments
must bear a fragement-level notice placed indicating that these are
publically licensed by the original author under the terms of that license.
This doesn't seem to contradict the original intent of the GPL3 either (in
draft 1, permissions could only be removed on modification).

In both cases, use of original code fragments distributed separately outside
the GPL application would be subject to the original license (because they
are represented as not encumbered by copyrights of the GPL licensor).  Thus
it might be arguable that one *could* use 7b legal/attribution notices to
reach compatibility with the GPL3.  I am aware though that this contradicts
the position of the FSF.

Best Wishes,
Chris Travers

Matt Flaschen
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