Subject: Re: (c) permission on multi-authored works [was: Charging the Charger]
From: DV Henkel-Wallace <>
Date: Mon, 18 Apr 2005 09:28:41 -0700

On 18 Apr 2005, at 09:17, Joe Corneli wrote:
> (True, on GPL code, one puts every person's copyright statement -
> which seems to suggest that the whole thing is in the copyright of
> each person.  But the GPL says that no-one downstream can relicense
> under non-GPL terms.  The only way to relicense under non-GPL terms is
> to have a "clean copyright".)
> Saying "we have a duty to account to each other for any proceeds"
> seems to imply the existence of some contract - unless you can cite
> specific passages of the copyright code or case law that prove me
> wrong about this and the other stuff, the issue will be on thin ice
> (for me).

You're right, and the advice quote and then respond to is (basically 
like a game of telephone) somewhat garbled in its lack of overall 
context (not your fault).  But there's nothing special about the GPL 

First, stop thinking of the GPL as some sort of "magic license" somehow 
different from any other license (which is the position the jerk 
"viral" people take).

It's just a license.  You sign up for it by making a derivative work.

When you write a C++ program with Visual Studio you agree to 
Microsoft's license for their C++ libraries.  That also has 
distribution terms.

If you license Qualcomm's BREW libraries you sign up for _their_ rules, 
and agree to pay certain royalties if you redistribute dependent code.

You and I can work together to write a package from scratch, and then 
release it under the GPL.  Depending on whatever else we agree, we can 
also license it under other terms (what you call a "clean copyright").  
But if we license someone else's code (e.g. a GPLed library) then any 
release we make with that library is governed by our terms _and_ that 
of the stuff we depend on.  If those terms conflict we can't release 
until we straighten it out with the original license grantors.  And if 
we can't do that: no release.

Rogers and Hammerstein can agree to do what they want with their work.  
Weird Al can't necessarily.