[Pkg-fonts-devel] Interpreting "based on" statement in License block (fontforge licensing)

Jonas Smedegaard dr at jones.dk
Sat Apr 23 18:32:01 UTC 2016

Quoting Vasudev Kamath (2016-04-23 17:18:44)
> While updating the copyright file of fontforge I came across some 
> files which has below style license header (please see at end of the 
> mail).
> Files are licensed GPL-3+ but as line "Based on example code in 
> zguide" followed by MIT/Expat style licensing. Looking at original 
> code ¹ I see there are modifications in this version so it looks like 
> derivative work which is relicensed as GPL-3+. Also the original 
> licensing block is kept to meet the MIT/Expat licensing terms.
> Now my question is how do we interpret this license?. 

From what you quoted I agree that it seems its reference to MIT license 
is historical only, and the actual license of that file is GPL.

Even if it was listed as both GPL and Expat licensed (and *not* 
explicitly listed as a choice of _either_ of them) then effectively the 
license would be GPL and we would not need to list the Expat license in 
copyright file (as long as we preserve the headers in the source and 
list the copyright holders).  If skipping formal mention of Expat in 
copyright file License field, then it is probably a good idea to mention 
it casually in related Comment field to indicate that the omission was 
done after deliberate reflection, not accidentally (e.g. after using an 
automated and too sloppy license scanner).

 - Jonas

 * Jonas Smedegaard - idealist & Internet-arkitekt
 * Tlf.: +45 40843136  Website: http://dr.jones.dk/

 [x] quote me freely  [ ] ask before reusing  [ ] keep private
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