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2002 Oct 19 15:29

The following is an archive of a post made to our 'vox mailing list' by one of its subscribers.

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Re: [vox] need help: long boring question about the GPL
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Re: [vox] need help: long boring question about the GPL



on Wed, Oct 16, 2002, Issac Trotts (issac@ucdavis.edu) wrote:
> On Wed, Oct 16, 2002 at 12:25:42PM -0700, Peter Jay Salzman wrote:
> > hi all,
> > 
> > i need help here...
> > 
> > bill alexander gave a talk about a program called chord (version 3).
> > i have a question about licensing --- the terms are big mess.
> > 
> > 1. the source code zip file contains a file named "license.txt".  it's a
> >    verbatim copy of the GNU GPL.  not the lesser GPL.  the GPL, with no
> >    other restrictions.

<...>

> > 3. chord 3 makes use of GNU getopt() which is licensed under the LGPL.
> > 
> > 4. version 4 of the program (written in java) is on sourceforge and is
> >    licensed under the pure GPL.  i think this is irrelevent though.
> > 
> > 5. the download website (for version 3) and a readme file contained in
> >    the source code zip file have a modified (more restrictive) version
> >    of the GNU GPL.  here it is, verbatim:
> > 
> >    CHORD is licensed following the conditions of the general GNU
> >    license. You are authorized to use this program free of charge.
> >    You are authorized to distribute this program freely as long as
> >    the full source is included. You are not allowed to remove the
> >    `copyright' notices from the authors nor are you allowed to
> >    pretend you wrote it. You are not allowed to charge any money for
> >    CHORD. You are not allowed to distribute a modified version of
> >    CHORD without written authorizations from the authors. You are
> >    not allowed to use parts of CHORD in any other commercial or
> >    public-domain software. Sorry for all the negatives rules ... but
> >    we've been bitten once!

<...>

> > 6. i contacted the authors, asking them about the licensing.  no reply.

<...>

> > first of all, these restrictions are a clear violation of the GPL.

<...>

> Since they gave you contradictory requirements and didn't get back to
> you promptly, why not take your pick?

Because lack of clear licensing terms != no or free licensing terms.

Peter could find himself in significant legal trouble this way,
depending on whether or not the chord authors are as prone to act in
legally confused ways as they are to dictate such terms.

Peace.

-- 
Karsten M. Self <kmself@ix.netcom.com>        http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
 What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
   What doesn't kill you makes you stranger.
     -- Karsten M. Self

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