Making kernel license upgradeable
Posted Oct 14, 2004 22:45 UTC (Thu) by rickmoen
In reply to: Making kernel license upgradeable
Parent article: Buying the kernel
[I missed this bit, earlier, or I would have included it in my other reply.]
[Most of mutex hypothetical snipped.]
But to do this, you would have probably to use other code that is derived on my code... gotcha! Your code now is derived from mine and you have no other option to distribute it than doing it under the terms of the GPL.
This is a persistent misconception that I would like to see disappear, finally, from licensing discussions. If my derivative work has been issued under terms incompatible with those of your original, you have zero power to force me to do anything. What you have is a tort claim against me. This entitles you to take me to court, prove your copyright title, attempt to enjoin me from further infringement, and possibly extract monetary damages. You could not twist my arm into releasing my code under any terms at all, because you would simply not have any ownership interest in my additions, only in your original work.
What free / open-source software people seem to fail to realise is that licensing conflicts come up in business all the time, and the outcome is never that the infringing firm "has no option but" to issue an instance of its derivative creation under some licence or other. Firm A accidentally includes business partner Firm B's proprietary code in its binary derivative of an upstream GPLed utility from Coder D. Firm C downloads it, and requests matching source code under GPLv2 clause 3b. Does Firm A comply? Probably not. It will probably tell Firm C "Sorry, our binary release was accidental and has been removed from our ftp site". Violating Firm B's contract and shafting a business partner would be a serious legal matter; a brief, accidental, already-corrected infringement of Coder D's copyright is not.
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