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

Vasudev Kamath vasudev at copyninja.info
Sun Apr 24 05:28:40 UTC 2016

Adam Borowski <kilobyte at angband.pl> writes:

> 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.

Thanks!. I will mark it as GPL-3+

> PS. Thanks for your work on upgrading fontforge!

No problem :-).

PS: Jonas is helping me also ;-).

Jonas Smedegaard <dr at jones.dk> writes:

> 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).

Right licensecheck tool reported it as both  :-), I will mark it as
GPL-3+ and add in comment the details.

More information about the Pkg-fonts-devel mailing list