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

Sam Liddicott sam at
Fri Nov 30 16:39:29 UTC 2007

* simo wrote, On 30/11/07 16:09:
> On Fri, 2007-11-30 at 15:30 +0000, Sam Liddicott wrote:
>> And if it is never released or distributed as a patch, but just a
>> combined modified AGPL work?
> AGPL mandates you to distribute the source code.
> The code will be *there* and it will *have to be* GPLv3.
> Remember each piece maintains it's own license, it is just that you have
> to provide the GPLv3 piece as well, but the license for the source code
> is GPLv3 not AGPLv3.
This is what I hope is actually the case, and represents what think fair.
>>>> It seems like the AGPL then would prohibit the separation of the
>>>> patch from the combined work (which may not be what the license
>>>> authors intended)
>>> I don't think this is possible or make sense to me.
>> As you said, if the patch was AGPL it could not be distributed. 
>> If the patch is not distributed then there is just a modified AGPL
>> work and if the patch were extracted it would be derived from the
>> combined AGPL work and so AGPL licensed.
> I think you still don't get the fact that the license *do not* apply to
> the whole work. It applies to the AGPL pieces only. It's just that you
> have to distribute all the pieces, but that does not change any code
> license.
I think your explanation of "combine" shows that this is the case.
Reading GPL3/13 in this light and
> It is clear to me we will need to educate people a lot, but that's
> another story :-)
Always the hard part.. - thanks for your patience.

I'll ruminate, but I believe that I am content that GPL3/13 and AGPL/13
mean and are intended to mean what you explained, affecting only the
distribution of source of the combined work, and not in any way
affecting the license of derivations of either work (which are already
covered by the rest of the respective licenses).

I think now that GPL3/13 does not permit the "upgrade" of the license,
merely makes it subject to the requirements of AGPL/13 when so combined,
and allowing de-combination according to the licenses of the individual
works. Careless licensing of some enhancements may cause confusion
(*cough*) but that is all.

Now I see that, it's hard to see how I mis-understood it. Maybe it was a
bad thinking day, or maybe it's like the old-woman/Eskimo picture, you
can only see one situation at a time.


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