Subject: Re: violating a license b4 product release
From: Ian Lance Taylor <>
Date: 02 Apr 2003 21:55:07 -0800

Erik Ostermueller <> writes:

> I'm planning on releasing an open-source product,
> probably under the GNU license.
> Must I do anything in particular to insure that I can
> safely/legally violate the terms of the license PRIOR
> to the product release?

Assuming that you hold the copyright on the product, there is nothing
you need to do.  The GPL and similar copyleft licenses place
restrictions on people who receive copies of the program: they specify
what some random person is permitted to do with the information which
they have received.  These licenses do not place restrictions on the
copyright holder.

Of course this does not apply if you do not hold the copyright on the
program, or if you assign that copyright to somebody else.  The FSF
often encourages GNU developers to assign copyright on their programs
to the FSF.  However, you do not need to do this in order to use the
GPL yourself.

This is how the FSF puts it:

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