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Date:   Sun, 05 May 2019 05:06:48 +0000
To:     Thomas Schmitt <>
Subject: Re: Can a recipients rights under GNU GPL be revoked?

> Note the word "irrevocable". So i think GPLv3 is safe.
You think wrong.

Do you know what an illusory promise is?
We'll you're staring at one there.

No bargained-for consideration (read: payment), No enforceable contract.
And, no, "obeying the license" isn't "payment": you have to do that 
regardless: otherwise you're committing copyright infringement, which 
you have a pre-existing duty to avoid.

On 2019-01-28 16:19, Thomas Schmitt wrote:
> Hi,
> Ivan Ivanov wrote:
>> Yes: The linux devs can rescind their license grant. GPLv2 is a bare
>> license and is revocable by the grantor.
> Do you mean
> ?
> The GPL does not say that it can be rescinded at the will of the 
> grantor.
> In GPLv3 it is explicitely stated:
> --------------------------------------------------------------------
>   2. Basic Permissions.
>   All rights granted under this License are granted for the term of
> copyright on the Program, and are irrevocable provided the stated
> conditions are met.  This License explicitly affirms your unlimited
> permission to run the unmodified Program.  The output from running a
> covered work is covered by this License only if the output, given its
> content, constitutes a covered work.  This License acknowledges your
> rights of fair use or other equivalent, as provided by copyright law.
> --------------------------------------------------------------------
> Note the word "irrevocable". So i think GPLv3 is safe.
> In GPLv2, the preamble states intentions which clearly contradict a
> reserved right to revoke the once given license. The TERMS AND 
> paragraph 4 say that if "you" lose the license rights because of 
> violations,
> "parties who have received copies, or rights, from you under this 
> License
> will not have their licenses terminated so long as such parties remain 
> in
> full compliance".
> This expresses a clear promise not to revoke the license from well 
> behaving
> license takers.
> Next the article quotes a conversation with Eben Moglen, lawyer of the
> Free Software Foundation.
> The only substance i see there is a reference to the principle that 
> gifts
> can be demanded back under some circumstances. In german law it is 
> because
> of the giver becomming needy or because the receiver shows outraging
> unthankfulness (e.g. an attempt to murder the giver).
> I sincerely doubt that GPL is a gift in the sense of german BGB 516 - 
> 534.
> Especially paragraph 517 says that waiving income in favor of somebody
> else is not such a gift. The large number of license takers makes the
> situation quite different from the one expected by german law.
> Further a demand to return the gift because of neediness would depend
> on a binding offer from a third party to pay money if the software is
> not under GPL any more. I think not even Microsoft Inc. would make such
> an offer, nowadays.
> Have a nice day :)
> Thomas

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