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Subject: Re: Licensing and Copyright Issues

Re: Licensing and Copyright Issues

From: Dave Chapman <>
Date: Sat, 15 Sep 2007 01:28:04 +0100

Jonas Häggqvist wrote:
> Dave Chapman wrote:
>>1) We start to incorporate GPLv3 code like espeak into Rockbox. Our own
>>"any version" license allows us to do that, but then Rockbox as a whole
>>would be GPLv3.
> For the reasons Daniel gave in his very first response, I don't see this as
> being a viable option. The source files do refer to a specific version of
> the GPL - namely the one in the COPYING file, which is version 2. I don't
> see how that can be seen as not specifying a version.

I disagree with that. To remind ourselves of Daniel's argument:

> Now I was pointed out the chapter 9 of the GPL, which is in the
> COPYING file. Line 246 says: "If the Program does not specify a
> version number of this License, you may choose any version ever
> published by the Free Software Foundation."
> So, what is "the Program" ? In my view we point out a file that
> explicitly says v2, but this clearly is not how everyone sees this.
> Lots of people now consider this phrasing in chapter 9 to be the text
> that basically implies "v2 or later".

IMO, the license text (i.e. the COPYING file) does not form part of the
program (which is the only argument I've heard against para. 9 being
applicable) - it's the license that accompanies the program.

If you think that para. 9 of the GPL does not apply in Rockbox's case,
in which situation would it apply? Are you saying the FSF wrote a
clause which is made obsolete by referring to the COPYING file (which
must be included with all GPL'd software)?

Again, IANAL, but it seems clear to me that at the very least, the
intention of the FSF was to say that by licensing under the GPL, you're
agreeing to license under any version (past or future) of the GPL,
unless you explicitly say otherwise. It also seems clear to me that
this applies to the Rockbox code.

I'm curious to know what other people think about this issue - as this
seems to me to be the first thing we have to agree on.

Received on 2007-09-15

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