Subject: Re: GPL revokability
From: dtemeles@nvalaw.com
Date: Tue, 10 May 2011 13:24:31 -0400

Interesting question and comments.  I assume the precise question is  
whether a party that licenses software under the GPL 2.0 or 1.0 may  
revoke or terminate the license when the licensee in question is not  
in breach of the license terms.  GPL v. 3.0 provides that it is  
irrevocable during the term of the copyright so long as the licensee  
is in compliance with the license.

The answer re GPL v 2.0 and 1.0, as unsatisfying as it may seem, is it  
depends upon the specific facts and the applicable jurisdiction's law.

The GPL is a non-exclusive license subject to interpretation and  
enforcement under contract law and the related equitable concepts just  
like any other software license, whether proprietary or open source.  
(My apologies to all of Moglen's "bare license" disciples out there).   
Versions 1.0 and 2.0 of the GPL are largely silent on termination or  
expiration of the license absent the licensee's breach.  Therefore,  
the parties to the license must apply the applicable body of contract  
law to the particular facts of their specific situation to determine  
whether the agreement is terminable by the licensor in the absence of  
a breach.  There simply is no definitive "one size fits all" answer  
and the question must be approached on a case-by-case basis.


IAALBNYL

Quoting Cinly Ooi <cinly.ooi@gmail.com>:

> Dear Ron,
>
> Until someone really try it in court, the debate will not be settled.
>
> The practical guy in me, and most software community has this policy: If you
> do not want me to use your code, then I will take it out, regardless of what
> the license actually says. Most of the time, alternatives are available and
> (in the case of larger project), it would not even be a hassle to write out
> your code. But note that this is voluntary on the part of the recipients.
>
> If the recipient really want to hold on to the code, then the copyright
> holder has to sue. IANAL but I am sure the recipient is going to point out
> that your license to him specifically said you had said that in the license,
> you will not rescind the grant for him to use the copyrighted stuff under
> dispute. You will have to get around this. Finally, I hope the judge and the
> jury is likely to hold you to that.
>
> HTH
> Cinly
>
>
> On 10 May 2011 13:01, Ron Teitelbaum <ron@usmedrec.com> wrote:
>
>> Hi all,
>>
>>
>>
>> I saw this: http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=2006062204552163
>>
>> And this: (see: Holy Cow it is legal)
>>
>>
>> http://www.groklaw.net/comment.php?mode=display&sid=2006062204552163&title=I+think+you%27re+wrong%2C+but+IANAL+and+we+really+need+one+for+this...+however%3A&type=article&order=&hideanonymous=0&pid=667899#c667903as
an explanation as to why irrevocable was added to  
>> v3.
>>
>>
>>
>> I recently had a conversation with someone who said that you can apply GPL
>> and then revoke it later.
>>
>>
>>
>> How settled is this question?  Is there anything new on this front that
>> isn't already covered by the articles above (i.e. since 2006).
>>
>>
>>
>> Can you release something GPL and then revoke it such that people that
>> already received the license cannot continue to use it.
>>
>>
>>
>> Thank you for your help!
>>
>>
>>
>> Ron
>>
>>
>>
>
>
>
> --
> Best Regards,
> Cinly
>
> *****
> Don't bother with footer please. I don't read them and will not be bounded
> by them.
> It cannot be enforced legally anyway. If it can, then remember this: This
> footer always triumph yours.
>