GPLv3's secretive Additional Terms

Ben Tilly btilly at
Wed Apr 21 22:18:22 UTC 2010

On Wed, Apr 21, 2010 at 3:09 PM,  <opensource.*.nwo at> wrote:
> Thank you John for your ingenious answers. Your section 7 answers are
> exactly the stuff I don't understand why the GNU hides from their
> otherwise good FAQ. Section 7 deserves its own section in the FAQ.
> As for additional permissions, does it mean those "permission granted not
> to distribute source code"are actually legitimate? I don't see how such
> deriatives could still be GPL.

If I am the copyright owner I can definitely grant any extra
permissions I like on that which I've copyrighted.  I don't have the
right to grant that permission on someone else's code.  Nor does the
GPL give me the right to do that.

However the GPL does give me the right to strip those extra
permissions away if I don't like them.

Therefore the GPL v3 allows people who want a more permissive license
to effectively construct one (by adding more permissions), and
explicitly allows anyone who gets the software to turn what they have
back into a vanilla GPL v3.  Of course if you do this and don't have
source code, then you can't distribute, so that would be a silly thing
to do.

The benefit over just releasing under a more permissive license is
that compatibility with the normal GPL v3 is very clearly guaranteed.

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