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Thread: The X.Org Foundation Is Undecided About Mir

  1. #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by duby229 View Post
    Its not hard to grasp. Its what the GPL says. It does not protect the copyright holder. It protects the code. And it says so specifically. There is no wrong way to interpret it. It says what it says clearly.

    It doesnt say that it protects an "instance" (version? copy?) of the code or whatever it is that you think it says. It doesnt matter how the copyright holder relicenses it. If it is also protected by the GPL then its terms need to be abided by.
    Taking in consideration the following example:
    I release 10 lines of code in two license, GPL and BSD.
    If you use my 10 lines of code under GPL in your project, then you are obliged to release your project with a GPL compatible license.
    BUT, if you use the same 10 lines of code released under BSD (with the related BSD license file), even if the lines are exatly the same of the GPL version, if you use the BSD version then you are not under the GPL constrains.
    Of course, if you want to license your code under BSD-like license and you use my codes released under GPL, you are an idiot and you are going to violate the GPL for sure.

  2. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by duby229 View Post
    I mean I just reviewed the GPL again just to look over it once more and I came out of it with exactly the same interpretation as before. My mind is not changed one tiny bit.
    I hope TheBlackCat's post above changed your mind a tiny bit. You just seem to confuse copyright and license.
    For a given piece of work, holding the copyright means owning the work. A license is a set of conditions through which owners let non-owners or a subset of them access and use the work.
    The license doesn't apply to the copyright holder, because he owns the work. He doesn't need permission to use it (=> doesn't access the work through any license). He doesn't need permission either to let anybody use it in any given way he chooses.

    The GPL only applies to GPL-licensed code, there is nothing to interpret there.

  3. #103
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    Yes, Duby, you're mistaken here. The point of GPL, and copyleft in general, is that it works by harnessing the power, if in an unorthodox way, of copyright. Copyleft is not a legal term, copyright is. In a sense, copyleft does not exist. Just that if traditionally copyright is used to say "this is my code and you MUST NOT distribute it", copyleft (via copyright) instead is used to say "this is my code and you MUST distribute it". But the law is one and the same. The copyright owner can do whatever they please with their own code.

    The GPL does not protect code - code is not something that needs protection, just like your fork or soup bowl. It's not sentient. What needs protection in the owner of the object - the person who wrote the code, or the person who bought the bowl, because they own it, and if something happened to the object, they would be the ones who feel the damage. They can use the protection in various ways, and the GPL just says that the copyright owner allows others to distribute or modify the code, provided that it stays under the same license.

    From what I can tell, the copyright owner may create a license in which it is said that anyone who wants to modify the code needs to dance a jig for an hour before doing so. It would be nigh-impossible to tell if they did so, and most people would simply not modify the code to begin with, but it's technically a valid license as well. But it does not mean that the copyright owner themselves have to dance a jig every time they work on their own code, because the license only applies to those who are not the holders of copyright.

    That's also one issue with works without license. If there is no license, the code is still copyright. If the copyright holder distributed it, then there is no problem, because it's their code. But nobody else can do anything with it, because it's still copyright code, and the copyright owner did not give permission to others to do anything with the code. However, if they waive their copyright ownership, then the code becomes public domain - so it's essentially "owned by everyone", and thus anyone can do whatever they please with it, because it's technically their code.

    Also, the FSF does not enforce the GPL. The only thing that enforces it is the same institution that enforces copyright in general - the court of law. The FSF can just bring the offenders to court, that's all.

  4. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by duby229 View Post
    Its not hard to grasp. Its what the GPL says. It does not protect the copyright holder. It protects the code.
    The LAW protects the copyright holder. The copyright holder has the right to do anything, period.

    The GPL only GRANTS rights to people who are NOT copyright holders, and thus don't have any rights. If you receive a piece of GPL code, then you are allowed to redistribute it, if you comply with the license.

    The copyright holder doesn't need a license to let him do this. He already has the right to do whatever he wants.

  5. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by duby229 View Post
    I don't see how you could get that much convolution out of what the GPL actually says. It's quite clear and I don't see any other way to understand it then what it says. I'm not trying to be argumentative, but I think you guys are stretching. The GPL doesnt say anything half as much as what you just wrote. It's a whole lot simpler then that if you8 take what was written literally.

    EDIT: It's no wonder there are so many thousands of GPL violations. It seems to be a general agreement that the copyright holder doesnt have to abide by the license even though it addresses that specifically in simple terms. I'm stumped. I mean I just reviewed the GPL again just to look over it once more and I came out of it with exactly the same interpretation as before. My mind is not changed one tiny bit.
    That is because we are not talking about the GPL specifically but copyright, which is the framework that the GPL resides in and has to work with. You are the one stretching by assigning the GPL powers it can not possible hold as it would go against the grain of copyright law. No wonder you keep seeing all of these strange phantom violations of the license.

  6. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreatEmerald View Post
    From what I can tell, the copyright owner may create a license in which it is said that anyone who wants to modify the code needs to dance a jig for an hour before doing so.
    http://bugmenot.com/terms.php
    You agree never to access the internet while not wearing happy pants.
    A real life example, while not exactly the same scenario, it is relevant.

    ... and yes, I'm wearing happy pants...

  7. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by duby229 View Post
    As long as the terms of the GPL code base are abided by. You can't simply decide that the GPL doesnt apply to you.
    The GPL does never apply to the author of the code, because the GPL grants (extra) rights to non-authors on top of the legal rights they might already have (things like fair use, citation, the right to make backups, etc.), while the author already has all possible rights to do whatever they want with it (including relicensing and/or re-using it in proprietary projects).

    People who aren't authors need permission from the authors to be able to re-license the code, and Canonical's CLA includes exactly that permission.

    BTW: if you really want to understand the GPL, I suggest you first start with understanding the laws & international treaties about authors' rights (which copyright is part of). Without those laws, the GPL (& copyleft) would be meaningless.

    Oh, and another note: laws always overrule contracts (like the GPL), of course.
    Last edited by JanC; 03-20-2013 at 02:05 PM.

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