inquery about "GPL with commercial exception"

IOhannes m zmölnig (Debian/GNU) umlaeute at
Sat Oct 10 20:45:31 UTC 2015

On 10/09/2015 03:40 AM, Ben Finney wrote:
>> > - they could dual-license the work under "GPL+exceptions" (to spare
>> > their happy audience) and under a "Linux Sampler License" (which would
>> > be the same but under a different name)

just to clarify.
the proposal was to dual-license under
(1) a license termed "GPL + exceptions", which refers to the GPL but
adds a non-commercial clause
(2) a license named "Linux Sampler License" which prohibits commercial
use but *apart from that* grants the same rights as the GPL.

in practical terms, (2) would most likely be a renamed copy of the GPL
that has the non-commercial restriction added and the clauses that
prohibit that addition be removed from the original text.

> The combination, as discussed, is not a valid license the recipient can
> coherently make use of under copyright law. So that's basically a
> misleading way to effectively grant no license.

if by the "combination" you mean the "GPL-exceptions" then yes, this is
true, but should have little practical impact.

esp. i think that if the licensor offers their work simulatenously under
multiple licenses, then those licenses do not affect each other.
e.g. i can dual-license things under the GPL and under some commercial
license, and in no way does the GPL have any effect on the commercial
similarily, i think i can dual-license under the BSD-3 and some totally
bogus and self-contradictory license ("BScL").
even if the self-contradictory license will never make it through any
court, the BSD-3 is a valid license.

every licensee can pick the license they want.

but since the distribution model of the software is open, nobody has to
make their pick explicit, unless being forced to do so (e.g. because
they want to re-distribute the software; or because they are going
through court).

so when it comes to making the pick explicit, the licensee has two choices:
- a valid license ("BSD-3")
- a void license ("BScL")

if they then pick the BScL, they may find that that is a bad idea, but
they might as well pick the BSD-3.

this basically shifts some responsibility (for picking a *valid*
license) from the original authors to their users, but i don't see why
this should be prohibited.

> If they want to grant a set of license terms more restrictive than the
> GNU General Public License, they have no permission from the FSF to use
> that name for the license terms.

hence the suggestion to create another license (based on the GPL, but
not being *the* GPL) under i different name.


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