Re: Dual-Licensing Linux Kernel with GPL V2 and GPL V3

From: Krzysztof Halasa
Date: Wed Jun 13 2007 - 09:12:13 EST

Bernd Paysan <bernd.paysan@xxxxxx> writes:

> I want to add my two cents on what I think the legal status of the
> individual contributions to Linux are. The thing in question is not the
> GPLv2 itself (which is pretty clear that code without explicit statements
> is under "any",

That's not exactly true. A work without explicit statements is not
licenced at all.

> This particular comment to how the GPL is applied to the Linux kernel
> therefore doesn't change the GPL as such

Of course.

> Again: What Linus is entitled to do is to *select* the license under which
> he redistributes the code downstream.


> The GPLv2 however is very clear how the end user gets the license: from the
> original author.

I'd be surprised if it's for GPL to decide.

> Not from the man in the middle, from a distributor or
> kernel maintainer, who can neither add nor drop restrictions/permissions
> (and thus the special rights of a compilation editor are void). The author
> can only speak for himself, not by behalf of somebody else, as well as the
> compilation editor.

How about derived works?
Am I free to get BSD source, incorporate it in GPL project, and release
the whole under GPL?
Sure, the original source stays BSD but I don't distribute it.

> That's why the FSF is so strict about having each
> author stating copyright and the license conditions on the top of the
> file - nobody else can.

I'm not sure the copyright laws define "files".

> So my conclusion is: If you, as contributor to the Linux kernel, want to
> make clear that your work really is GPLv2 only, you have to do that
> yourself, you have to add a notice like above to files where you
> exclusively own copyright.

I don't think the law works like that.
By default you have no rights to someone's work (file or project).
The only licence I can find with Linux is GPL v2, isn't it? And even
that wasn't stated explicite until that 2.4.0something (though there
is a consensus that the COPYING file was indeed a licence for the
whole kernel).

Then you may have additional rights, such as those given in various
source files.

> The rest (the majority) did not
> choose to say anything, which under the GPL regime means "any";

What exactly is the "GPL regime" and how is it defined by copyright
law and/or the GPL licence itself (or will of copyright holders etc.)?
Krzysztof Halasa
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