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SubjectRe: GPL V3 and Linux - Dead Copyright Holders


On Thu, 2 Feb 2006, Rene Herman wrote:
> > So. Claiming that the GPL license text itself cannot be part of the program
> > is disingenious. According to your reading, the modified BSD license
> > wouldn't be compatible with the GPL either, because it requires:
> >
> > * 1. Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright
> > * notice, this list of conditions, and the following disclaimer,
> > * without modification.
> >
> > yet the FSF has clearly stated that this is perfectly fine, even though it
> > also disallows modifications to the license text.
>
> But please note that this is indeed perfectly fine, and does not contradict
> anything I say. This requirement only disallows modifications to the copright
> and license notices, not modifications of the _program_ and the GPL is
> perfectly fine with that.

You continue to make this totally arbitrary distinction between "copyright
and license notices" and the "program".

That distinction does not make any sense.

The "license notices" _are_ an integral part of the program. Nothing else
makes sense. They are often in the same files (that's the most common case
by far), and as I showed you, they are often (as in the case of the GPL
license notice itself) actually _linked_in_ into the actual binary itself.

I find absolutely zero legal ground for your distinction that they are
somehow a totally independent entity from "the program", and it is in
fact in total disagreement with GPLv2 section 9 where they talk about the
"Program" specifying a license version.

You seem to be saying that no copyright license or notice is ever part of
the "Program", but that's totally idiotic. It would mean that you can
_never_ specify a "license version" in the Program, because by your
totally inconsistent rules, that copyright license note would
automatically somehow magically not be part of "Program".

So your reading simply DOES NOT MAKE SENSE.

I claim that Copyright notices and licenses very much _are_ part of the
program. I claim that because (a) the license says nothing to the contrary
and (b) the license clearly _does_ talk of copyright notices within the
Program (since the "Program" can specify a license version as per section
9: how the hell could you specify a license version "in" the Program, if
all copyright license notices were somehow magically "outside" the
Program?)

You cannot have it both ways. You can't say that copyright license notes
are sometimes outside the Program, and sometimes part of the Program.

The _only_ consistent reading is that copyright notices are _always_ part
of the Program, and that you must leave them intact as per section 1. This
also makes it clear that the "you must be able to modify" (section 2) does
_not_ cover copyright notices and licenses, even though they _are_ part of
the Program.

See? My reading is perfectly self-consistent, and doesn't need any
artificial separation of "copyright notice" vs "Program". Yours is not.

Your notion of copyright notes and licenses somehow being separate from
"Program" simply cannot be reconciled with reality, common sense _or_ the
wording in section 9.

The fact is, the copyright notices and licenses really _are_ a very
integral part of "Program". You cannot separate one from the other - not
conceptually, and not physically - and trying to do so would in fact be a
clear violation of section 1.

Linus
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