Subject: Re: Drafting employment contracts for free-software authors
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <stephen@xemacs.org>
Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2005 12:03:08 +0900

>>>>> "g" == DV Henkel-Wallace <gumby@henkel-wallace.org> writes:

    g>   2 - The contract specified that the work would be
    g> confidential until either 1> they gave it to _any_ third party
    g> or 2> a certain time had passed (two years?)

    g> Technically 2 wasn't needed (the GPL says it anyway)

I would think any Philadelphia lawyer would argue that, actually.  The
derivative work you do for hire on a GPL'd work does not constitute
distribution to you.  So while the license to the third party must be
GPL, you don't have a GPL'd copy.  Furthermore, section 2 says

"If identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the
Program, and can be reasonably considered independent and separate
works in themselves, then this License, and its terms, do not apply to
those sections when you distribute them as separate works."  The
device-dependent modules of a driver, for example, if abstracted from
the device independent parts that interface to the Linux kernel.

So despite section 0's claim to apply to the work in the abstract
(which as far as I know is a dubious claim in US copyright law,
specifically, otherwise dual licensing would be incompatible with the
GPL), I don't think you have any right to claim the privileges of a
GPL licensee merely because a third party has received the work under
the GPL in general, and there are particular situations where I'd be
willing to bet on it, based on language in the GPL itself.

And of course the time limit is essential.


-- 
Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences     http://turnbull.sk.tsukuba.ac.jp
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
               Ask not how you can "do" free software business;
              ask what your business can "do for" free software.