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

From: Bernd Paysan
Date: Fri Jun 15 2007 - 04:49:15 EST

On Thursday 14 June 2007 20:55, Dmitry Torokhov wrote:
> It does not matter. GPL v2 and later can be reduced to v2 by
> recepient.

And expanded by the next recipient to GPLv2 or later, as long as the first
recipient does not make a substantial modification ("substantial" is a
copyright term - there is no precise definition how much must be modified,
but a line or two may not count as "substantial"). This is because you
receive the license from the original author, not from the man in the

What's still open is how you can change the conditions if you do make
substantial changes. My position is: If you modify work (i.e. work with
multiple licensors), you are not in a position to change the conditions,
since you have to pass on the rights you have (and that included "you may
use any GPL" or "you may use GPLv2 or later"). If you create work, you are
the only licensor, so you can choose (the created work needs to be
sufficiently independent, which e.g. a ZFS from OpenSolaris clearly would
be). If you combine work, you can ship the combined work only under a GPL
version that matches the common subset, but you cannot change the license
of the parts. By adding stuff under GPLv2 only, and then combining the work
to a larger work, you may achieve the effect that the larger work is then
GPLv2 only. You cannot achieve that people take out the GPLv2 only work,
and recombine it for themselves - these people then can choose other
license, and combine it e.g. with GPLv3 code.

If you distribute work under multiple possible license, you can also choose
which conditions you want to fulfill. But that's not imposing restrictions
to the next recipient, so the next recipient can choose again.

It's so simple: Only the author can impose restrictions, everybody else,
when using the GPL, has to pass on all the rights he got. If you get a
court verdict depends on the law system, and in an anglo-saxonian (roman)
system, you might get away by exploiting loopholes, but in a Code Napoleon
system, you don't, because exploiting loopholes is not "good faith".

Bernd Paysan
"If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself"

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