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From Peter Donald <>
Subject RE: licensing (was: Ant gui tool)
Date Sat, 21 Oct 2000 02:41:20 GMT
>Do you mean that if I were the sole author of a piece of software, and
>released it under license A, then later decided I didn't like license A, I
>could then re-release it under license B?

yep - as long as you had not accepted any "siginificant" changes from
others. The definition of "significant" is left up to a court of law ;).
Basically this means that if the changes give the contributor a copyright
on code then you both have to agree to relicense it.

>  I guess I was under the
>impression that once you released a piece of software under a given license,
>that constituted some kind of implicit contract between the author and any
>users, and as such, the license could not be changed.

license can always be changed by copyright holders - practicality may stop
it thou in the case of many copyright holders. If you do a release under a
particular license (release A) then it will stay under that license (unless
a clause of license stated that it was time limited or had other
restrictions). However you can make another release under another license
providing all copyright owners agree or remove their code.

There are a few projects that underwen major changes with multiple
contributors/copyright holders. In this case the projects generally have a
period of 3-6 months where the developers are given oportunity to replace
or remove code whos copyright can not be determined or whos holders do not
consent. I believe Mesa3d (an opengl clone) was one such project



| "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want |
| to test a man's character, give him power."          |
|       -Abraham Lincoln                               |

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