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




On Mon, 28 Jan 2019 13:27:04 +0100
<tomas@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> 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.
> 

The whole point of the GPL, of course, was that a Random Large Software
Company couldn't just buy up code and remove it from the market. Even
if all the copyright holders were paid enough to remove their current
code from an open source project, they could not remove previous
versions, and anyone who wished to do so was free to continue
development.

If that isn't true then it's Game Over.

-- 
Joe