[License-discuss] Changes made by derivative works

Gervase Markham gerv at mozilla.org
Thu Jan 31 12:53:00 UTC 2013

On 31/01/13 12:48, David Woolley wrote:
> 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.

I'm not sure how requiring people to put "Changed by Fred Bloggs" (which
is all Apache requires) at the top of files makes a significant
difference to any of these problems.

> Also, a statement of the copyright owner is normally part of the
> condition for establishing copyright.

What do you mean by "establishing copyright"? Copyright is automatic
(Berne Convention).

> It would certainly be very useful
> if the terms of the licence had to be enforced.  

If copyright owners are interested in enforcing their licenses, then of
course it is up to them to take whatever action they feel appropriate to
record the provenance of code. But that's not the same thing as writing
into the license that everyone _else_ has to add "Changed by Fred Bloggs".

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

Do you use Linux? Can you establish a full list of copyright owners for
it? Or Android?


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