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

mick writes:
> What I intended to mean was if somebody wants to try to alter
> (rescind) the license they would have to get the agreement of all the
> previous authors whose work, released under the GPL, they used in
> their code.  Which I can't see happening.

"Rescind" implies that the copyright owner can inform people who have
already received copies of the work under the terms of the GPL that the
rights granted to them by the GPL have been revoked and that they are no
longer free to redistribute the work under the terms of the GPL.  This
cannot happen because the GPL contains no clause permitting it.

Think about it. If a copyright owner could revoke licenses arbitrarily
despite the licenses not containing clauses permitting them to do so no
copyright license would be worth anything at all.  Software copyright
licenses (real ones, not the "licenses" that products from Microsoft et
al come with) sometimes do include revocation clauses.  Such clauses
always lay out in great detail the conditions under which revocation is

A copyright owner can, of course, start distributing copies of a work in
which they own all the copyrights under different terms: this is what
happens when a formerly closed source work is "open sourced".
Obviously, if the work contains stuff in which others own copyright, all
parties must agree to the change.
John Hasler 
Elmwood, WI USA