They're involved in the distribution
Posted Jul 10, 2007 1:39 UTC (Tue) by sepreece
In reply to: They're involved in the distribution
Parent article: Microsoft's proclamation on GPLv3
Well, I read your "Quite." as stating your agreement with Ciaran's quote. I apologize if that was an incorrect inference.
However, on the "GPLv2 or any later version" question, I believe you are simply wrong, especially w/r/t to the patent question, since the FSF took the time to directly address the patent question in the FAQ: "No. When you convey GPLed software, you must follow the terms and conditions of one particular version of the license. When you do so, that version defines the obligations you have. If users may also elect to use later versions of the GPL, that's merely an additional permission they haveit does not require you to fulfill the terms of the later version of the GPL as well."
That says, quite clearly that someone distributing "GPLv2 or later" gets to choose which version to distribute under and that choice determines the distributor's obligations under the license. The recipient has the same privilege, with respect to its use and re-distribution, but cannot apply any obligations upstream other than those the software was conveyed under.
I think this is actually pretty clear in the actual license language: "you have the option of following the terms and conditions either of that numbered version or of any later version..." That is, you get to choose the terms and conditions YOU follow, not the terms and conditions anyone upstream must follow.
As you note, only the copyright owner can change the license terms, but those terms are "GPLv2 or any later version". The terms of the license then give any downstream conveyor the option of choosing the terms of its conveying, with that scope.
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