RE: GPLv3 Position Statement

From: David Schwartz
Date: Thu Sep 28 2006 - 23:32:08 EST

> It's in section 1, where it says "keep intact all the notices that refer
> to this License" (section 2 refers to section 1).
> The current GPLv3 draft says (section 4): "keep intact all license
> notices".
> Notice a difference? I'm not a native speaker and of course IANAL, but
> AFAICT, with "v2 or later", if you follow the terms of GPLv2, you are
> only required to keep notices refering to THAT license, ie. GPLv2, so
> you seem to be allowed to remove the GPLv3 notices. But if you follow
> the terms of the GPLv3, you are required to keep ALL license notices,
> including those that refer to v2.
> So you could actually never ever make a "v2 or later" program a
> "v3 only" program, but only a "v2 only".
> Am I missing something?

That section uses the phrase "this license" twice. I think it's only
reasonable to assume it means the same thing in both places. It says you
must "give any other recipients of the Program a copy of this License along
with the Program".

If "this license" means GPLv2, then the GPLv2 does not allow you to remove
the GPLv2 notice. I think it's somewhat absurd to say that you must include
a copy of the license but may take away their right to use the code under
that license.

If "this license" means "whatever license you happen to have to this
program", then you cannot remove or modify *any* license notices, including
the "GPLv2 or later at your option" notice.

I see no plausible way to argue that GPLv2 permits you to change "GPLv2 or
later at your option" to "GPLv3 or later at your option". If GPLv3 does not
either, then you may not do so.


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