Licensing a python module

Matthew Flaschen matthew.flaschen at
Thu Apr 24 08:45:17 UTC 2008

Dan Stromberg wrote:
> I'd like to use it in a program I'm writing for my employer, and they 
> seem cautious about the GPL.  If a program I write on my employer's time 
> uses a python module that is GPL, does that mean the program must also be 
> GPL?

If you work as a programmer/software engineer/reasonably related 
profession, it's quite possible that the module already belongs to your 
employer.  It might even if your occupation were unrelated to software. 
  This would all depend on your employment contract and your jurisdiction.

If the employer does own it, you may not have had permission to license 
it under GPL to begin with.  I would recommend clearing this up first.

> Or is that just for linking in the C sense?

As people have noted in the past, GPL is bound by copyright law, which 
ultimately determines whether a work is derivative of another.  We can't 
give you a definitive answer on this.

> Does anyone know the in's and out's of relicensing a python module this 
> way?

If you do own the copyright, you can license it under as many (or few) 
licenses as you'd like, in any order.  Thus, there's no problem with 
adding a separate license.

> And what license do most python modules use?

Don't know.

> How hard would it be to take a GPLv2 python module and relicense it to 
> GPLv2 and something else just for my employer?

IANAL, but all you'd have to do is give your employer a separate copy of 
the code (or really just a notice), with an exclusive non-sublicensable 

> Followups directed to,

I think this is just a pure mirror of license-discuss

Matt Flaschen

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