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




On Mon, Jan 28, 2019 at 10:55:39AM +0000, mick crane wrote:

[...]

> I did try to comprehend all of the GPL at one time and found it very
> tricky to navigate.

I've been following this thread, and I think the GPL is much simpler
than that:

 (1) use: always
 (2) share (i.e. give to others, distribute, pack up in a bigger distro):
   you are bound by the GPL, that means you've to make the source
   available to your recipients, give them the same GPL rights)
 (3) modify: as soon as you distribute modified versions, you've to
   make those available under the same terms as the GPL.

Of course, if you own the copyright to the software itself (there's no
such thing as to "own" "the software", viz. this term is so ambiguous
as to be worthless), i.e. you wrote it, you paid someone to write it
under a contract which gives you the copyright, etc., then you're not
that much bound by (3). This is e.g. the basis for such things like
the combined licenses, where the copyright owner has a commercial
variant for those (presumably paying) customers who don't want to
be bound by the terms of the GPL. Ghostscript [1] is a prominent
example.

The trick with (2) is that you, as a "receiver" of the softare, don't
have any rights to distribute it [2]; you are /granted/ those rights
by the issuer /if/ you comply with the terms of the GPL. This is the
implicit contract you're entering, whenever you /distribute/ the
software (or a modified version).

This is the "copyleft" hack contained in the GPL.

That said, I'm not a lawyer. Nor do I play one on TV.

[1] https://www.ghostscript.com/license.html
[2] That's by plain and simple copyright law.

Cheers
-- t

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