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

John Cowan cowan at
Fri Jul 6 20:51:25 UTC 2007

Arnoud Engelfriet scripsit:

> So I *think* any contributor can sue over infringement over his
> 'contributor version', independently of any other contributor.

Yes, this is fundamental.  Provided a derivative work is made under
license, the derivator is an author with all the copyright rights
of an author (except of course that he cannot restrain the author
of the original work from licensing new derivatives unless there is
a contract to that effect).

> > The FSF recommendations for how to apply the GPL are part of this
> > copyrighted document.  If you distribute the terms and conditions of
> > the GPL but omit including their recommendations, you have violated
> > the copyright on the GPL document.
> I guess we're reading "this license document" differently. You say
> it refers to the entire text of the HTML or text document on the FSF
> website. I say it refers only to the text between "GNU GENERAL
> that text is part of the license.

You are both right, I think.  For the purpose of satisfying the GPL
requirement that "a copy of the GPL" be distributed with a work, it has
to be the whole thing from the title to the end of the recommendations.
But neither the Preamble nor the part labeled "How to Apply These Terms
to Your New Programs" are of legal effect.

They tried to pierce your heart                 John Cowan
with a Morgul-knife that remains in the
wound.  If they had succeeded, you would
become a wraith under the domination of the Dark Lord.         --Gandalf

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