Implications for switching licenses mid-stream

Chuck Swiger chuck at
Wed Apr 23 16:46:47 UTC 2008

On Apr 23, 2008, at 1:01 AM, Rick Moen wrote:
> Quoting Chuck Swiger (chuck at
>> We've had this discussion several times before.  :-)
> Fruitlessly, it appears.

Yes, perhaps.

>> More importantly, altering a copyright without explicit permission
>> would likely be considered a violation of USC 17 section 506c - e, or
>> equivalent.
> To quote Niven and Pournelle's Rod Blaine, "That turns out not to be
> the case."  You are assuming that the project leader changing the
> licence terms on a collective work constitutes willful copyright
> infringement -- and, in your hypothetical, [ ... ]

Woah, Nellie!  Ben's entire posting was "If I reissue the work with  
nothing changed [but] the copyright statement,
the work has been modified so isn't it now a derivative work?"

I can't reconcile Ben's hypothetical example: where a third party who  
has made no changes to the copyrighted material itself, but only to  
the copyright statement, with your example: where a project leader  
might change the terms of a collective work, one to which they have  
contributed to and thus have initial or joint ownership of the  
copyright per USC 17 Ch 2 section 201a or c.

I think John's response is exactly correct-- if you change the  
copyright notice on a work which you do not own, that constitutes fraud.


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