FDL University-courses II

Achim D. Brucker brucker at informatik.uni-freiburg.de
Wed Jul 17 06:28:33 UTC 2002

On Wed, Jul 17, 2002 at 12:26:00AM +0200, Wouter Vanden Hove wrote:
> Op di 16-07-2002, om 16:00 schreef Tomasz Wegrzanowski:
>     That's easy - the only person who can sue you if you break the
>     copyright license is the author. But he obviously can't sue himself.
> And what if the author gives you his program that you can distribute
> only under the GPL, but he hasn't given you the source?  Since he
> himself is not bound to the terms of the license, this would  not be a
> violation, and you cannot legally redistribute the program further.
> Of course this is a hypothetical idea, but such tricks appearantly
> exist? 
I think, this is a misunderstanding. If the author gave me his program
licenced under the GPL, he made a "contract" with me under the terms of the 
GPL. Therefore for this "distribution", both parties are bound to the GPL and 
I would have the right for demanding sources. 
But, the author is not bound to the GPL for the further use of the program. He
could stop distributing it, distribute it under a non-free licence or whatever
he wants. Remark, that this is only valid as long, as he is the only copyright
holder of the source (or all copyright holder agree in the re-licening). 
A prominent example would be mysql, which copyright is completely held by
MySQL AB. You can get mysql under the terms of the GPL, but your are also
able, to by it under an non-free licence (e.g. for using it in a non-free
project and thus avoiding the viral nature of the GPL).


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