French GPL-compatible License

Alex Hudson home at
Wed Jul 14 13:02:40 UTC 2004

On Tue, 2004-07-13 at 19:10 +0100, Niall Douglas wrote:
> It might seem like splitting hairs, but apparently this phrase 
> legally makes the difference between requiring that all derived works 
> must also be GPLed and merely requiring that the license for all 
> derived works must be *compatible* with the GPL.

I think the situation is a bit more subtle than that. 

If you want to create composite works, they must be licenced compatibly
- that is, the terms of the licences must not conflict with each other. 

The composite work must be distributed according to the terms of both
licences - both licences still stand, because you are not allowed to re-
licence a piece of work unless you are the copyright holder.

In the case of the GPL, which specifies that a distributor may not
impose more restrictive terms, you cannot create a derivative that has
stricter distribution terms than those of the GPL. Also, you must
respect the terms of the GPL when you distribute the derivative. So,
basically, the derivative is being distributed under the terms of the
GPL - but that's not to say that it is wholly licensed under the GPL,
which is the subtle difference.

The argument we had previously was whether or not the GPL was
'infectious', whether it had a relicensing effect, which it does not. 



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