how much right do I have on my project, if there are patches by others?

Arnoud Engelfriet arnoud at
Fri Jul 6 14:08:58 UTC 2007

Ben Tilly wrote:
> On 7/6/07, Arnoud Engelfriet <arnoud at> wrote:
> >Having the full copyright allows you to change the license, or
> >to license it to some under a different license. It also allows
> >you to sue for infringement or violation of the license.
> Having a partial copyright is sufficient for filing lawsuits.
> Otherwise you're right.

I guess it depends on jurisdiction. In some, you need permission
from all copyright holders. In others, any copyright holder can
sue, but at the same time any other copyright holder can grant
a license to the entire work, making such lawsuits a waste of money.

> >Having full copyright allows the FSF to move its GNU project
> >to GPL version 3, for example.
> Bad example.  If you've followed the FSF recommendations for how to
> apply the GPL (the ones that are written into the GPL), then no
> permission is needed to go from GPL v2 to v3.

Those recommendations are not part of the GPL, fortunately.
Maybe I should have stated it differently: if every author
retains his copyright, the full work cannot be relicensed
unless every author gives permission. This is why it will
be extremely difficult to move the Linux kernel to GPLv3
(even assuming Linus Torvalds wants to).


Arnoud Engelfriet, Dutch & European patent attorney - Speaking only for myself
Patents, copyright and IPR explained for techies:
              Arnoud blogt nu ook:

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