Please help me respond to a German user about the GPL

Cruickshank, Peter P.Cruickshank at
Thu Feb 11 13:31:49 UTC 2010


There is the EUPL, which is an EU translation of GPLv2 and intended to be cross-compatible...

Not sure if you like it though:

"European Union Public License (EUPL) version 1.1

    This is a free software license. By itself, it has a copyleft comparable to the GPL's. However, it allows recipients to distribute the work under the terms of other selected licenses, and some of those-the Mozilla Public License and the Common Public License in particular-only provide a weaker copyleft. Thus, developers can't rely on this license to provide a strong copyleft.

    The EUPL is compatible with GPLv2, because that is listed as one of the alternative licenses that recipients may use. However, it is incompatible with GPLv3, because recipients are not given permission to use GPLv3's terms, and the EUPL's copyleft conflicts with GPLv3's. Because of this incompatibility, we urge you not to use the EUPL for any software you write."


-----Original Message-----
From: discussion-bounces at [mailto:discussion-bounces at] On Behalf Of Jeff Epler
Sent: 09 February 2010 23:01
To: discussion at
Cc: chris at
Subject: Please help me respond to a German user about the GPL

In a web forum about emc2 (often called just emc), a GPLv2only-licensed
program, a developer has posted some comments about the GPL that are
very surprising from my US-centric viewpoint of the GPL).

The developer, Thomas G., is writing a new GUI for emc2; the source code
for the GUI includes some files adapted from the emc2 source
distribution, and the compilation process uses header files and
libraries from the emc2 binary distribution.

My understanding is that there is no difficulty in releasing the new GUI
under the terms of the GPLv2, but Thomas seems to have some reservations
that I do not understand:

> as we do not have the Gpl- Licence in Europe (mean we have it but it
> is intended different) i still do not know what licence to provide
> with the source... In Europe everything that is published has a
> copyright. Even the emc- example Nc-Code, Hal-Examples etc... So
> normally i am not allowed to make a copy of emc in Europe... If there
> is a "real" copyright depends on the code itself. For Example: if i
> take a "small" Part of external code (lets say 100 lines of code) into
> a big project (about 80.000 lines of code) and the external code is a
> code that itself has parts that were taken from other published
> code-fragments, the external code cannot have a copyright...  But you
> can feel free to copy / modify the source as you want...,com_kunena/Itemid,20/func,view/catid,38/id,1813/lang,english/#1834

Please help me understand and respond to his concerns, particularly from
the standpoint of European or German copyright.

I believe Thomas's first language is German, so if there's someone
willing to communicate with Thomas personally in German that might also
help here.  If you contact me, I can put you in touch with him.

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