GPLv3's secretive Additional Terms

Wilson, Andrew andrew.wilson at
Mon Apr 26 15:21:16 UTC 2010

Chris Travers wrote:

>On Fri, Apr 23, 2010 at 5:20 PM, Wilson, Andrew <andrew.wilson at> wrote:
>> Chris, I don't believe this language is GPLv3 compliant because of your
>> restriction requiring verbatim reproduction of your permission.  Section 7 says
>>        When you convey a copy of a covered work,
>>        you may at your option remove any additional permissions
>>        from that copy, or from any part of it.
>> which contradicts your restriction.  Call me a literalist, but I think
>> "remove any additional permissions" means a downstream recipient may /remove/
>> permissions, not /add/ new restrictions which have the effect of countering
>> additional permissions in underlying code.  That way lies madness.
>Reading the GPL v3 in that way though makes it incompatible with a
>plain reading of any BSD-style license.  Or is that my imagination?

Chris, you're thinking of the scenario where you take some BSD-licensed code
and introduce it as a patch into GPLv3 code, correct?

In that case, I believe the BSD license provisions are "supplemental terms"
as allowed in section 7, para 3, subpara a..f, and they are not "additional
permissions."  "Additional permissions" apply to the entire GPLv3 covered work
and may only be granted by the copyright holder.  "Supplemental terms"
may be introduced into a derivative work by a licensee
under a valid BSD or Apache-style license. "Supplemental terms" should be preserved
in source while "additional permissions" are allowed to be removed.  Sound about right?

IANAL, TINLA, cheers

Andy Wilson, Intel open source technology center

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