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Date:	Mon, 3 Sep 2007 20:19:56 -0400
From:	Daniel Hazelton <dhazelton@...er.net>
To:	Krzysztof Halasa <khc@...waw.pl>
Cc:	davids@...master.com,
	"Linux-Kernel@...r. Kernel. Org" <linux-kernel@...r.kernel.org>
Subject: Re: Fwd: That whole "Linux stealing our code" thing

On Monday 03 September 2007 15:33:01 Krzysztof Halasa wrote:
> Daniel Hazelton <dhazelton@...er.net> writes:
> > I hate to belabor the point, but you seem to be making the mistake of
> > "The license applies to the copyright holder"
>
> Of course not.

I'll take this at face value - I might have mis-parsed your earlier statements 
wrong.

> > The person holding the copyright has all the legal standing to revoke a
> > license grant at any time.
>
> Based on?

US Copyright law. A copyright holder, regardless of what license he/she may 
have released the work under, can still revoke the license for a specific 
person or group of people. (There are some exceptions, but they do not apply 
to the situation that is being discussed)

> > Licenses such as the GPL are not signed contracts,
> > and that means there are limits to what effect they can have on the
> > copyright
> > holder.
>
> Perhaps that is your local laws, but I'd be surprised anyway.

I wouldn't. The US Legal system is rather twisted.

> Do you sign contracts when shopping, or are you (and the shop)
> allowed to "revoke" the transaction after it's made (I'm not
> talking about shop's return policy)?

A purchase is separate from a grant of copyright under license. If I purchase 
a book I have the right to read the book and I have the right to sell the 
book to someone else, but I have no other rights to it. But if I purchase 
something, there are rights that go along with said purchase.

Under a license such as the GPL (I can't say the same for the BSD/ISC 
license - I haven't spent enough time studying it to know for sure) no money 
need change hands for access to the program *and* source. All the rights that 
anyone *BESIDES* the copyright holder have to the program and/or source comes 
from license. But since money has not changed hands, there is no further set 
of rights or guarantees - the copyright holder has not, in general, sold a 
copy of the work or granted any guarantee that the license will not be 
revoked.

> Is what you wrote only valid WRT licences?

Yes. For contracts there is slightly different set of laws in play.

> Which country has such laws BTW?

The USA.

>
> In Poland, I can't just go and "revoke" a "statement of will"
> if I haven't explicite reserved a right to do so.
> Obviously I can act contrary to the statement, and be held liable.

Ah, see - in the US the license(s) in question (and licenses in general) are 
grants of rights, not a "statements of will". If there are to be any limits 
on the rights of the copyright holder, under US law, they have to be 
explicitly stated in the license itself. (Truthfully, in the US a license 
should be read with an implicit "All rights reserved")

DRH

-- 
Dialup is like pissing through a pipette. Slow and excruciatingly painful.
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