Questions / Concepts GPL. Was: Re: GPL License with clause for Web use?

simo simo.sorce at
Thu Nov 29 22:57:36 UTC 2007

On Sat, 2007-11-24 at 00:06 +0000, Sam Liddicott wrote:
> simo wrote: 
> > On Fri, 2007-11-23 at 23:03 +0100, Carsten Agger wrote:
> > > >     
> > > Well, since the features added would be part of the work for which the
> > > GPLv3 "will continue to apply", they will be GPLv3.
> > > 
> > > Any changes which can be isolated to a part covered by the GPLv3 will be
> > > GPLv3. Only such changes as apply to the parts covered by the AGPL or
> > > the work as a whole (i.e., glue connecting the two parts) will be AGPL.
> > > 
> > > At least that's how I read it.
> > >     
> > 
> > This is how I read it too so far.
> >   
> It's how I read the AGPL - except the GPL3/13 allows conversion of the
> GPL3 work to AGPL in which case the modifications could be AGPL.
> It seems to me that GPL3/13 that gives authority to do this, not AGP -
> if the recipient chooses to act on that authority and do so.
> However, a summary of points will be collated on Monday for a request
> of official clarification as per Shane's suggestion.
> I enjoyed the discussion, anyway... even though I got a little
> overheated, so thanks all, for being so frank so that we could
> understand each-others concerns and understandings.

I have exchanged a couple of emails with Richard Fontana of SFLC, one of
they key lawyers involved in helping FSF coming up with the GPLv3 during
the drafting process.

He told me his personal opinion, which is not necessarily what the FSF
thinks, is that my read of the clause is close to his reading.

Basically, Richard thinks that the "linked or combined" language does
not imply modification. IE, releasing a patch against the GPLv3 part of
the work under AGPLv3 would even be a copyright violation. The patch
needs to be GPLv3. Only the combination of the works obeys to AGPLv3's
additional requirements. But each piece retains completely its license.

Therefore there is no risk that a GPLv3 work can be effectively turned
into an AGPLv3 work by means of patches.


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