Rchard Stallman vs Darl McBride
jon at endpoint.com
Tue Jul 20 20:34:27 MDT 2010
On Tue, 20 Jul 2010, Tod Hansmann wrote:
> You can't release part of a project under GPL, and if you do release it
> under GPL, you give up the right to keep some of your code to yourself.
> At least, I believe that's what he's saying.
There is nothing in the GPL that says you must distribute any code you
write that is derivative of GPL'd code, if you don't distribute it.
If you distribute code derivative of GPL'd code, then it must be licensed
under the GPL. But you don't have to distribute it.
For example, a company can make internal modifications to Linux and is
under no obligation to distribute them or tell anyone anywhere about it. I
believe internal copying within a company is not considered distribution
under copyright law due to the idea of corporate personhood.
However, if they do distribute the code to others, whether in exchange for
money or not, it must be licensed under the GPL to comply with the GPL
license of the code they're building upon. Otherwise, they have no license
to use that copyrighted original code.
One option that occasionally is used: You can get permission from the
original copyright holder to use their code under another license than the
GPL, maybe for free because they like you, or in exchange for money or
This is all just a reflection of the fact that under current copyright
law, all creative works are presumed copyrighted by their creator by
default, and the only thing that makes it legal for another party to copy
the copyrighted work (except for fair use etc.) is permission, whether
through a stock license like the GPL, or personal permission.
End Point Corporation
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