Subject: RE: Scope of copyright on derivative works
From: "Lawrence Rosen" <lrosen@rosenlaw.com>
Date: Fri, 28 Sep 2007 15:50:25 -0700

Alexander Terekhov erroneously suggested:
*    Copyright (c) 2007 GPL Developer Who Made Changes <gpl@example.org>
*
*    This file incorporates modifications covered by the GPL... [blah blah]

Your "blah blah" is wrong. The correct notices would be:

   Copyright (C) 2007 GPL Developer Who Made Changes.
   This file is licensed under the GPLv2 [or GPLv3].

I'm serious: This [entire!] file is licensed under the GPLv2 [or GPLv3]!

But that's not the end of the story....

Although it is not required by copyright law, my OSL and AFL licenses
require this new GPL Developer Who Made Changes to OSL/AFL-licensed works to
retain preexisting copyright and licensing notices in her Changed Work as a
condition for partaking of those preexisting licensed works and distributing
those changes. That way, anyone who receives the Changed Work (under the
GPL!) knows from reading the source code that at least some portions of the
code remain available under the AFL or OSL. 

The same relationship is true for any code combined legally into
GPL-licensed software, including Apache and Eclipse and BSD software,
although the requirements to retain notices in the source code or elsewhere
may differ in these licenses. But from a licensing perspective, the entire
Changed Work is under the GPL; the original components--or what remains of
them in the source code--remain licensed under their respective licenses.

The Changed Work is allowed only because the original open source licenses
on the contributions authorize the making and distribution of changes. I
call that "sublicensing", although some lawyers prefer to view it as
"licenses emanating directly from their original licensors". Those are
different way of describing the relationship of the parties, but I believe
both have the same practical result.

Indeed, it is because of this common understanding of how free and open
source licenses interact that the Apache license is now understood to be
compatible with GPLv3. There are aspects of the Apache 2.0 license (such as
the Apache licensor's defenses against patent lawsuits, and the
indemnification requirement) that remain in effect for the Apache components
in the Changed Work even though the work as a whole is licensed under the
GPL. That's the consequence of the ways we do sublicensing in open source.
Our customers need to understand that.

/Larry

Lawrence Rosen
Rosenlaw & Einschlag, a technology law firm (www.rosenlaw.com)
3001 King Ranch Road, Ukiah, CA 95482
707-485-1242 * cell: 707-478-8932 * fax: 707-485-1243
Skype: LawrenceRosen
Author of "Open Source Licensing: Software Freedom and 
                Intellectual Property Law" (Prentice Hall 2004)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Alexander Terekhov [mailto:alexander.terekhov@gmail.com]
> Sent: Friday, September 28, 2007 12:42 PM
> To: lrosen@rosenlaw.com
> Cc: License Discuss
> Subject: Re: Scope of copyright on derivative works
> 
> Let's leave compilations aside for a moment and talk about
> modifications (derivative works). Okay?
> 
> http://www.softwarefreedom.org/resources/2007/gpl-non-gpl-
> collaboration.pdf
> (2.2 Adding GPL'd modifications to permissive-licensed files)
> 
> On 9/28/07, Lawrence Rosen <lrosen@rosenlaw.com> wrote:
> > [Subject changed. Was "For Approval: Microsoft Permissive License"]
> >
> > Alexander Terakhov keeps repeating in off-topic email:
> > > All
> > > preexisting protected elements fall under the BSD. Straightforward way
> > > to convey that fact is to keep the BSD on top and indent the GPL below
> > > it with a notice that only portion(s) of this file are under the GPL,
> > > not file/work "as a whole" ("the totality").
> >
> > You misunderstand. You are demanding that we see only the pieces of a
> > collective/derivative work and not its expressive whole, which isn't
> > correct.
> 
> I'm not demanding that. Preexisting elements of "its expressive whole"
> remain under the BSD license. New expressive elements in modifications
> (in the case of derivative work) fall under the GPL. Straightforward
> way to convey that fact is to keep original BSD license on top and
> indent the GPL below it with a notice that only modifications to this
> file are under the GPL. The totality of copyright on derivative work
> "as a whole" subsists of both copyrights (covering preexisting + new
> elements).
> 
> /*
> * Copyright (c) YEARS_LIST, Permissive Contributor1 <contrib1@example.net>
> * Copyright (c) YEARS_LIST, Permissive Contributor2 <contrib2@example.net>
> *
> * [... BSDL terms ...]
> *
> *    Copyright (c) 2007 GPL Developer Who Made Changes <gpl@example.org>
> *
> *    This file incorporates modifications covered by the GPL... [blah
> blah]
> */
> 
> regards,
> alexander.
> 
> --
> "PJ points out that lawyers seem to have difficulty understanding the
> GPL. My main concern with GPLv3 is that - unlike v2 - non-lawyers can't
> understand it either."
>                              -- Anonymous Groklaw Visitor