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Re: Can a recipients rights under GNU GPL be revoked?




rhkramer@xxxxxxxxx writes:

> […] I believe that the original author of a package could do something
> like create further modifications to the code and create a non-free
> version of the code.

Yes. The _Copyleft and the GNU General Public License_ guide
<URL:https://copyleft.org/guide/> addresses that possibility:

     The GPL is irrevocable in the sense that once a copyright holder
     grants rights for someone to copy, modify and redistribute the
     software under terms of the GPL, they cannot later revoke that
     grant. Since the GPL has no provision allowing the copyright holder
     to take such a prerogative, the license is granted as long as the
     copyright remains in effect. The copyright holders have the right
     to relicense the same work under different licenses […], or to stop
     distributing the GPLv2’d version (assuming GPLv2 §3(b) was never
     used), but they may not revoke the rights under GPLv2 already
     granted.

     In fact, when an entity loses their right to copy, modify and
     distribute GPL’d software, it is because of their *own actions*,
     not that of the copyright holder. The copyright holder does not
     decide when GPLv2 §4 termination occurs (if ever); rather, the
     actions of the licensee determine that.

     <URL:https://copyleft.org/guide/comprehensive-gpl-guidech8.html#x11-510007.1>

So, the copyright holder can make new releases without granting GPL
freedoms. But they have no way to revoke the GPL freedoms already
granted to a person in a specific past release of the work.

-- 
 \                “Fascism is capitalism plus murder.” —Upton Sinclair |
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_o__)                                                                  |
Ben Finney