inquery about "GPL with commercial exception"

Gunnar Wolf gwolf at
Thu Oct 8 14:32:14 UTC 2015

Francesco Poli dijo [Wed, Oct 07, 2015 at 11:50:53PM +0200]:
> I personally think it is indeed relevant.
> Let me try to explain.
> The term "further restrictions" is meant "with respect to the
> GPL terms", not "with respect to GPL terms + any terms added by the
> copyright holder".
> Hence releasing software under "GPL + further restrictions" creates a
> self-contradictory license, where anyone willing to redistribute has to
> comply with the following conditions:
>  • redistribute under the GPL terms
>  • do not impose any further restriction (with respect to the GPL)
>  • do not drop the restrictions which are already present (copyright
>    laws do not allow distributors to drop restrictions)
> One cannot comply with all these conditions at the same time.
> The "GPL + further restrictions" license is therefore
> self-contradictory.

Right. But a content creator (in this case, a software author) is free
to choose whatever terms they see fit for their work. In this case, if
what they come up with that best describes their intent is "something
similar to the GPL, but adding a restriction to it to prevent
appropriation in commercial settings", they are entitled to.

And yes, expressing it as "GPL + restrictions" is unfortunate; perhaps
describing it as a "restricted GPL" is clearer. It legal code were
interpretable as software, the "work" object would be restricted
before being "blessed" (yes, I'm marked with Perl) as GPL, hence the
GPL would not affect its fundamental nature.

Anyway, further discussing the matter won't clarify it much. The clear
result, /methinks, is that we all agree this is DFSG-unfree. Whether
it is distributable in non-free... Is subject to discussion.

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