Release comercial application's sources as GPL but with restriction in usage

Chris Yoo cyoo at
Tue Feb 15 22:57:24 UTC 2005

Hmm..on the topic of incorporating copyright assignments into licenses,
removing the need for signed, hard-copy assignments I note the following
excerpts from the JCA faq

"How do I file a completed JCA?
According to US law, Sun must have a FAX or hard copy of the JCA on file
before Sun can accept contributions and update the list of contributors with
an accepted JCA..."

"Can I file my completed JCA by e-mail?
If your computer has FAX capability, then you can print out the JCA form,
fill it out, sign it, scan the JCA and FAX it from your computer. Currently
digital signatures are not acceptable under US law."

Is this the current state of the law? Would this make an attempt to assign
copyright within a license (that is not signed by either party) futile? 


-----Original Message-----
From: David Ryan [mailto:david at] 
Sent: Wednesday, 16 February 2005 9:41 AM
To: David Dillard
Cc: 'Chris Yoo'; license-discuss at
Subject: Re: Release comercial application's sources as GPL but with
restriction in usage

I think the QT Public License does just what you suggest in #2 and is
approved by OSI.  The following clause is taken directly from

3b. When modifications to the Software are released under this license, 
a non-exclusive royalty-free right is granted to the initial developer 
of the Software to distribute your modification in future versions of 
the Software provided such versions remain available under these terms 
in addition to any other license(s) of the initial developer.

Its because no other licenses have this clause that I am creating a 
license which has this effect.  The QTPL is quite thin in many other 
areas which is why it can't really be used.  I think this clause creates 
a good ground for business developers to release high quality code well 
maintained source into the open source community.


> <>I don't think that can happen in most realistic scenarios.
> Suppose Party A writes some software and releases it in a dually licensed
> manner, one open source, the other not.
> Party B gets the open source version, finds a bug and fixes it, 
> contributing
> it back to some community repository.
> Party A CANNOT then take that fix and then put it into their dually 
> licensed
> source base unless:
> 1. Party B expressly gives Party A permission to do so, either thru 
> another
> license or thru relinquishing ownership of the code (either to Party A or
> into the public domain).
> or
> 2. The open source license Party A originally used gives them the 
> ability to
> do so.
> I'm not aware of any open source license that meets #2 above. Thus Party B
> would have to relinquish ownership.

More information about the License-discuss mailing list