Rodney Sparapani writes:
Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
> Then legally all your downstreams are on shaky ground in
> redistributing them.
I don't know what you mean by downstream. Debian or Ubuntu?
"Downstream" is anybody who redistributes your files, whether XEmacs,
Ubuntu, Microsoft, or your sister-in-law. They need your explicit
permission. That's what "all rights reserved" means, and *all* rights
reserved *is* the default under copyright law. Without an explicit
permission, anybody who copies, redistributes, etc is infringing
Arrrh, walk the plank GPL!! :o) Seriously, what piracy is taking
No piracy is taking place; I just mean that most free software
distributors disagree with the whole idea of copyright and think that
the content of software should be free for the taking once you have
acquired a physical copy.
We have 3 docs generated by OpenOffice. There are also 3 script
files created with XEmacs. Does that mean I have to GPL the 3 scripts
No, the generator does not matter at all in open source/free software,
because they never impose conditions on running the software.
Copyright law itself only applies to copying the software. If the
software is not copied into the output, copyright law doesn't care.
The way that generators control output is by contract. Copyright law
is what gives the vendor a monopoly on the software. They use this
monopoly to get you to contract (aka EULA) about things that copyright
law doesn't touch, such as whether you can run the program (per-seat
licensing) and whether the output is restricted somehow. Again, no
such contractual provision is ever present in free software by
definition (and the RMS/Moglen take is that the GPL is not a contract).
Maybe I get your point. So, if I'm creating a text file for my
use with XEmacs, then I don't have to GPL it. But, if I'm creating
free software, then I do.
No, that's incorrect. The principle (and this only applies to GPL and
other copyleft licenses) is that if you copy any portion of a GPLed
work into another work, that latter work must be GPL.
Now, since "ESS" is considered a single work under copyright law, and
you received code under the GPL (eg, from Tony), all of ESS must be
redistributed under the GPL. But wait! maybe it's not a single work,
maybe it's a "mere aggregation" of several works. Specifically, code
and documentation. Then the code and the documentation can have
I can buy that, but it certainly is not piracy for ESS to release
files that have no license (if so, then the SUMO gang are a Motley
Crew, aiih matey).
It's not piracy to release them. *You* have no problems. But it's
copyright infringement for recipients to redistribute them without
with reference to Dan Bernstein, for an explanation of why this causes
As long as ESS uses just one license (possibly with version
restrictions), there is no real problem. Implicitly those files are
GPL, because ESS is GPL. It's only if there are conflicting licenses
(such as GPL and GFDL) involved, then you have to figure out where the
boundary between content covered by GPL and content covered by GFDL
is. That is hard in a self-documenting program like Emacs (which is
why I dislike the GFDL).
Let's say somebody wants to sell the 3 script files that were
with XEmacs, but have no license. Now, that's priacy!
No, not at all. The price has nothing to do with freedom.
So, if you are saying that we want to fix all of these files to be
in compliance with GPL3, that makes sense.
Personally, I would prefer not to, and I think that is true of most
XEmacs developers (I do not claim to speak for them, that's just my
impression). There are terms in GPLv3 I do not like, and I would not
want my downstream to be bound by them. However, if my upstream wants
GPLv3, that is acceptable to me, and we will fix up our distribution
as needed to conform to their wishes.
But, at the same time it is contradictory, since you are not really
following GPL2 by this reasoning.
No, we don't have to follow GPL v2. We have to follow the permission
we were given. Normally for GPL code, that is "GPL Vn or later".
That means we can change it to "GPL Vn ONLY", "GPL V(n+1) ONLY",
Vn or V(n+1) ONLY", or (most usually) "GPL V(n+1) or later".
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