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SubjectRE: GPL V3 and Linux - Dead Copyright Holders

> On Thu, Jan 26, 2006 at 06:37:28PM -0800, David Schwartz wrote:

> > He cannot, however, change the license on any code he did not write.

> Explain how exactly Linus is 'changing' anything ?
> The license of the project is clearly stated in the top-level
> of the tree.

I never said that he is or was. I said that he cannot.

> If the person submitting code (to *any* project) doesn't read the
> license that's the submitters problem, not the project maintainer.

Definitely. And I believe that you have every right to assume that code
that is submitted to you without contradictory information is submitted
under the same license as governs the project it is a contribution to.

The point is, nothing can change the license of code contributed under the
GPL except a relicense from the original author. The GPL is a special type
of license wherein you always get your license to use from the original
author. So nobody can ever change the license of any code you submit under
the GPL. This is spelled out clearly in section 6:

"Each time you redistribute the Program (or any work based on the
Program), the recipient AUTOMATICALLY receives a license FROM THE
ORIGINAL LICENSOR to copy, distribute or modify the Program subject to
these terms and conditions." (emphasis added)

So when you receive a copy of Linux, each piece of code and modification
thereto is licensed to you from its particular original author. No author or
distributor has any power to change that (other than to offer you their own
code or contributions under a different license).


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