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Re: [vox-tech] Self-replacing license [was Urgent news: Linux maybe relicensed]
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Re: [vox-tech] Self-replacing license [was Urgent news: Linux maybe relicensed]



Quoting Micah Cowan (micah@cowan.name):

> >As an author, you have no downside from "or later" if FSF issues a
> >proprietary-leaning GPLv3, because (1) your recipients can always reject
> >it and elect GPLv2, and (2) you would probably follow up latest release
> >n with an n.001 that newly omitted the "or later".
> 
> (2) is more or less pointless, though, as the code is already available 
> to people in GPLv3 now, until I (or others) have added sufficient code 
> to make it less attractive to "downgrade" to an older version of the 
> software. 

I think you're rather missing the point:  Recipients would enjoy fewer
rights, not more, under some hypothetically restrictive GPLv3.  Ergo,
they'd be getting nothing at your expense -- and then of course you
simply omit that option from your subsequent code.

> (2) is also impossible to execute if it is a collective-work, 
> collaboratively authored by enough other people that it would be 
> impractical to obtain their permission. 

Not correct.  If you're the primary maintainer, you enjoy the broad rights
described.  If not, you specify what you want in your own specific
copyright statement.

> >I.e., obviously the threat of then forking release n-or-less under FSF's
> >new restrictive terms isn't of concern.
> 
> Less restrictive, more restrictive... licensing is a balance between 
> restriction on the developer and restriction on the user. 

Tell me something new.  ;->

I hope my meaning was adequately clear.  If not, I'm not doing that
conversation again, sorry.

> But if the GPL were to step a little further past the edge of what I 
> deem reasonable to give up as my owner privileges, that's when the "or 
> later" becomes a problem to me as an author.

I've already explained why this is a chimera.

> >>However, there is an interesting situation: when I'm both recipient and 
> >>author (as in the case of modifying-and-distributing).
> >
> >Then, you enjoy rights over the codebase without needing to accept the
> >licence on any instance of it in the first place.
> 
> I'm having problems parsing that sentence.

One more time:  If you're copyright owner, you enjoy inherent rights to
your work without needing to accept the licence (if any) attached to any
particular instance of your codebase.

> But certainly, I enjoy only the rights specifically granted to me by the 
> license notice that is (hopefully) at the top of each source code file. 

No.  Once again:  If you're the author, you are _not a recipient under
licence_ at all.  Think about it.  Licences are conditions (under either
bare copyright law or a contract) for recipients.  As author, you're not
a recipient; you made the thing.

> >>Reads a lot into 17 USC 201,
> >
> >Actually, into caselaw.
> 
> Not sure what you mean here.

Er, caselaw.   You know, stare decisis?  Statutes are interpreted in
light of precedent and practice.

> It's their interpretation of a specific sentence in 17 USC 201 that I
> find extremely questionable.

My point was that it _is_ the way copyright law is applied, as a result
of a couple of hundred years of caselaw.  Now, I'm sorry if that differs
from what a lot of programmers assumed to be the case, but it's
nonetheless true.


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