[License-discuss] Changes made by derivative works

David Woolley forums at david-woolley.me.uk
Thu Jan 31 12:48:19 UTC 2013

Gervase Markham wrote:
> On 31/01/13 10:37, David Woolley wrote:
>> In the case of GPL one is it mainly meeting the minimum requirements for
>> establishing the copyright status of the file when used outside of the
>> original application.  Such re-use is fundamental to the GPL concept,
>> even if many open source developers only think of their programs as ever
>> being used as a whole.
> That's just not true. The entire _point_ of open source licenses is that
> you can use the code without having to care who owns the copyright,
> because the license under which they have released it gives you all the
> rights you need.

Particularly with the GPL, many people don't really understand what they 
are doing when they use it.  They may not even have the right to grant 
the licence.  One case may be that is is actually work for hire. 
Another real case is that someone used source code distributed under a 
no-commercial use condition, for the G.729 codec, and distributed a 
derivative work claiming that it was under the GPL.

Also, a statement of the copyright owner is normally part of the 
condition for establishing copyright.  It would certainly be very useful 
if the terms of the licence had to be enforced.  I think it is with 
respect to enforcement, that the GPL makes this requirement.

Anyone who receives software for which they cannot establish the 
copyright owner, should be very careful.

David Woolley
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