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

On Mon, Jan 28, 2019 at 12:55:15PM +0000, mick crane wrote:


> What I intended to mean was if somebody wants to try to alter
> (rescind) the license

You'd have to explain what you mean by "rescind" here: the license
to the current version or the one to the future versions. Details
would depend on the license's text. GPLV3 is pretty explicit on

  2. Basic Permissions.

  All rights granted under this License are granted for the term
  of copyright on the Program, and are irrevocable provided the
  stated conditions are met.

Any questions?

> they would have to get the agreement of all the previous authors
> whose work, released under the GPL, they used in their code.

This is a whole other kettle of fish, and you shouldn't mix it with
the above -- this will result in impenetrable fog.

This concerns the case when a project wants to change the license:
suppose it is "GPLV2 only" and the project leaders would like to
relicense it to "GPLV3". This would run against the "GPLV2 only"
terms, so it is only possible if /all copyright holders/ agree.

In some cases it's easy (as when there's just one copyright holder)
in others (prominent example: the Linux kernel) each contributor
retains the copyright to her own contribution... a change is
practically impossible. But some (admittedly smaller at that time)
projects have managed to pull that off [1].

The normal case is that when the original authors/company would
like to do something like that, they expect a CLA ("Contributor's
licence agreement") from their contributors (but that has to be
done in advance, of course).

> Which I can't see happening.

Sometimes it happens (see OSM example below)


[1] https://blog.openstreetmap.org/tag/license-change/
-- t

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