[Fedora-legal-list] Providing a copy of the GPL
r.landmann at redhat.com
Fri Mar 18 06:07:57 UTC 2011
I'm currently reviewing a package (perl-NTLM) that was originally
published under a mostly free license but with some unacceptable
restrictions (not allowed to sell it, must send the developer the diffs
of any changes).
The packager contacted the developer, and the developer agreed to
license it under "GPL+ or Artistic". The packager correctly included the
email with the clarification from the developer in the source RPM per
However, we would now be shipping a copy of GPL-licensed software
without providing a copy of the GPL, which I understand we can't do
under section 4 of the GPL.
The packaging guidelines state that we must include a file that contains
the text of the license "If (and only if) the source package includes
the text of the license(s) in its own file" and that "the packager
should contact upstream and encourage them to correct this mistake" if
such a file is missing from the package.
However, the GPL doesn't seem to require the upstream to include a copy
of the license in their source -- it only seems to require this of
people who make copies of the program (section 4 again). The FSF's
guidelines for use of the GPL don't seem to insist on this either: they
only say that the developer "should also include a copy of the license
itself somewhere in the distribution of your program" -- "should",
1. am I right in thinking that because the "Artistic" option doesn't
specify the clarified version (or version 2.0) of the Artistic license,
we're compelled to ship under the GPL?
2. assuming that we're shipping under the GPL, am I right in thinking
that we cannot ship this code without including a copy of the GPL?
3. assuming that we must include a copy of the GPL, can we do so even if
upstream does not?
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