For Approval: GPLv3

Richard Fontana fontana at
Fri Aug 31 03:01:34 UTC 2007

Matthew Flaschen wrote:
> Chris Travers wrote:
>> In other words, downstream users get their license from *me* for my
>> code, not from other GPL licensors.  CHanging what you can do with *my*
>> code is not allowed.
> Except it is allowed, in section 7.  Section 7 is not a mistake; it
> means exactly what it says.  This is an exception to the broad
> "Sublicensing is not allowed"
>> However, at least the language is contradictory and confusing.
> There is a minor contradiction in wording, but it doesn't change the
> legal effect.

I don't think there is any contradiction in wording. I think the source
of some of the confusion here is that Chris (and perhaps some others in
this discussion) seem to be giving "sublicense" a nonstandard
definition.  If A, a copyright holder, conveys to B under the GPL +
additional permission, and B conveys to C without modification but
removes the additional permission (which, it may be noted, is authorized
by the terms of GPLv3), B is not "sublicensing" to C, because no rights
to the code are coming from B; they continue to pass directly from A.

"Sublicense" does not generally mean "cause your distributee to get a
proper subset of the permissions you got" (which I sense is the
definition Chris is assuming); rather, the sublicensor is engaged in a
distinct licensing relationship with the sublicensee in which a grant of
rights is made from the sublicensor to the sublicensee, possibly within
constraints defined in the original license.  At any rate, this is the
notion of "sublicense" that is employed in the relevant clause of GPLv3.

>> There is no further documentation as to why this change was made.
> I think it's obvious.  Otherwise, people could just make trivial
> modifications then do it; thus, this distinction is pointless.  No other
> part of the GPL requires modification.

Yes, that's precisely why that change was made.

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