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

Adam Borowski kilobyte at angband.pl
Sat Apr 23 18:06:00 UTC 2016

On Sat, Apr 23, 2016 at 08:48:44PM +0530, Vasudev Kamath wrote:
> Hi,
> 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?. 

While the original code is MIT/Expat, GPLed modifications make it
effectively GPL-3+.  There's no way to undo this "tainting" other than using
a pristine copy of the original (and there is no need for us to do so).

So upstream is doing it right -- both licensing blocks need to be included,
but otherwise saying just "GPL-3+" is ok.

> PS: If you think I should approach debian-legal, please let me know.

IANAL, but I believe this is obvious enough to not waste their time.

PS. Thanks for your work on upgrading fontforge!
A tit a day keeps the vet away.

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