Subject: Re: For Approval: Microsoft Permissive License
From: Rick Moen <>
Date: Sun, 9 Sep 2007 12:24:37 -0700

Quoting Zac Bowling (

> Nearly the entire text speaks about making sure that the license is
> protected. The Linux kernel has no "GPLv2 or later" clause. Trying to
> change it, you would be in direct voliation of the license because the
> license text says you have to release under "this License". It's very
> clear on that. Everyone that contributed to the project, did so under
> the same license for the code that is copyrighted by them. Without
> securing permision from everyone that owns a copyright on the code to
> release under a different license you can't change the license on that
> code.

Catherine and Eric's Licensing HOWTO explains, quite clearly, why this
widely held view, which you are now reiterating with such fervour, is
simply untrue as a matter of basic tort law.  You should get around to
reading it.  

> The author can hold you responable as violating their license for
> changing the license when you redistribute under these licenses. No
> actual damages test is required in that case. You own the copyright,
> and anyone using it outside the terms of the license you released,
> then they are violating it.

Under collective-work theory, which would tend to apply to open source
projects, a project leader _does_ have an implied grant of rights from
contributors to change licence terms in any fashion that preserves the
contributors' interests in a legal sense.

You as a contributor disliking what the project leader does isn't the
same as it being tortious.  It's just not.

> Even the FSF has said the same (see the GPL FAQ -

GPL FAQ is, to be blunt, an advocacy document, and always has been.  
I've written in this space previously to debunk what that document said
about GPLv2 clause 3b supposedly requiring provision of source on
physical media, which was errant nonsense.  

I see that that howler is still present:

There's also a lot of utter hooie about "linking", e.g.,