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Old 05-15-2020, 12:21 AM   #1
des_a
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US Copyright Law Question


I'm not saying I would or would want to do this, but let's take a pretend scenario. Author creates program. Author is copyright holder of program, sole copyright owner. Owner releases program under GPL3. Owner only likes to use their own cord in the official versions. Owner wishes to release it under some other liscense as well, or move all official versions to another liscense. Can owner do that? We are talking owner, copyright holder, not some third party, which may or may not create diratives of the program and release them using GPL3. Same question, other way around. Just want to know the laws. Thanks!
 
Old 05-15-2020, 12:51 AM   #2
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So far if you are the owner, and you have not relinquished your copyright by selling it and so on, then you are free to change the license as much as you want. It won't affect what is already out there, however. There are several now famous projects which forked from the last-known-good copy of an earlier project. The famous project flourished after continuing under a free and open source license. In contrast, once closing up their code base, the other projects languished or just merely got by.

What goal do you have in mind? The license is a tool and you select it based on what you want to make possible.
 
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Old 05-15-2020, 07:51 AM   #3
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Get an initial consultation with an attorney and ask them.

Sorry but the same repeated details
 
Old 05-15-2020, 09:05 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by des_a View Post
Owner wishes to release it under some other liscense as well, or move all official versions to another liscense. Can owner do that?
Yes, but only for newer versions he will be releasing from that moment on.
The versions released onder the GPL will stay under that license.

See i.e. the differences in license between Red Hat Linux and (when they went commercial) Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). The older releases all have stayed under the FOSS license they were released under (but are hopelessly out of date now, of course).
And even for the RHEL releases they are obligated to publish their sources free of charge (as most of those are under a FOSS license), making distro's like CentOS possible.
 
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Old 05-16-2020, 04:50 AM   #5
ondoho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by des_a View Post
Author creates program. Author is copyright holder of program, sole copyright owner. Owner releases program under GPL3.
Isn't there a contradiction here somewhere?
The GPL is part of a series of copyleft licenses. Surely the name means that they differ from traditional copyright?
 
Old 07-14-2020, 01:37 AM   #6
des_a
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Quote:
Author creates program. Author is copyright holder of program, sole copyright owner. Owner releases program under GPL3.
Quote:
Isn't there a contradiction here somewhere?
The GPL is part of a series of copyleft licenses. Surely the name means that they differ from traditional copyright?
Don't know, but I'm meaning if they are the only ones who contributed to that project too, or at least what they are starting from.
 
Old 07-14-2020, 02:44 AM   #7
des_a
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Isn't there a contradiction here somewhere?
The GPL is part of a series of copyleft licenses. Surely the name means that they differ from traditional copyright?
Also, this is only a theoretical question so that I could know what rights I would have. Probably it would sometime be done the other way. I know I have changed my mind about licences before, but I was still developing the project along.
 
Old 07-14-2020, 02:45 AM   #8
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I wasn't sure the rule after you posted an official version in an official way.
 
Old 07-14-2020, 02:46 AM   #9
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Which country is this for and which distro, including version, will this be used with?
 
Old 07-14-2020, 02:47 AM   #10
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So, is the official answer yes you can? I know it's not the best idea, but like I said, it's only a theoretical question right now.
 
Old 07-14-2020, 02:49 AM   #11
des_a
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This is a question about US copyright laws. United States of America (US). No distro, because the question applies to ANY "piece of software", that can be liscenced. But it applies to only your work and only if you are the sole owner of the work. And I'm only talking about official versions, not versions still in development, where you haven't decided which license to go to. Just if you wanted to change it in your "official" version.
 
Old 07-14-2020, 02:50 AM   #12
des_a
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So, is the official answer yes you can? I know it's not the best idea, but like I said, it's only a theoretical question right now.
That is my next question.
 
Old 07-14-2020, 02:57 AM   #13
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If you yourself wrote the software, or have acquired the copyright to said software through other means, you have All Rights Reserved. If it was published under one license, that material will remain out there under that old license. But if you change the license for subsequent versions, then the new material will be under that new license.

Lawyers can explain that all with more authority but at a higher price.

As for how that works, the US is part of the Berne Convention:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berne_Convention

That enforces specific provisions in regards to copyright. The gist is that software is considered expression, thus copyright applies, and that copyright is automatic until waived.

However, the copyright part only applies to what has been published, not stuff still under development and which has not been published (assuming you are the original author or have otherwise acquired copyright for the software):

https://www.law.cornell.edu/treaties.../overview.html

So, skim through the Wikipedia link above and then dig through the second link in more detail.
 
Old 07-14-2020, 03:05 AM   #14
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And local application of the Berne Convention inside the US can be found here:

https://www.copyright.gov/title17/

As for interpretation of specific details there, the usual approach is to lawyer up and fight it out in court until only one party is left with any money remaining or else the court renders a decision first.
 
Old 07-14-2020, 03:09 AM   #15
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Published CAN mean put on a website, right?
 
  


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