On Dec 14, 2007 9:49 PM, Richard Stallman <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:I don't think so. The recipient of BSDL'd material gets a copyright license from the original licensor -- without the middleman getting a chance to do anything at all regarding granting some or all of the copyright rights that middleman received as a licensee. The middleman may or may not grant rights to his modifications though. And that means what? Well, you might want to wget and check out http://opensourcelaw.biz/publications/papers/BScott_BSD_The_Dark_Horse_of_Open_Source_... "What is the legal effect of being required to retain "this list of conditions". Are they just there for show? Do they have some other effect? In determining this, a court will look to the objective meaning of the clause and, potentially, the objective intention of the original licensor. In this case, the actual subjective intention of the party granting the license (and what they thought the words meant) is irrelevant.8 What the court is looking to determine is what the reasonable person (ie an idealized and dispassionate citizen who is called on to assess the scope of the license) would make of the words.9 Consider first the warranty disclaimer. If there is a requirement to "retain" a copy of the warranty disclaimer in a redistribution, is a court likely to say the warranty disclaimer is intended to be effective or not? For example, could the disclaimer be retained but framed by a redistributor in such a way that the disclaimer had no legal force?10 It is likely that the reasonable person would read the license and think that the licensor intended that the warranty disclaimer was to be retained without qualification. A similar argument could be made about clause 5 (which prohibits endorsements). On this analysis, the warranty disclaimer travels with the distribution and the redistributor has no ability to qualify it. The question then becomes what about the other clauses? What about clause 2 which permits "redistribution and use" of the source form? If, in the case of the warranty disclaimer, the objective intention of the requirement to "retain" or "reproduce" the warranty disclaimer is that the warranty disclaimer cannot, by the manner of its retention, be limited in its application or scope. Why should the same reasoning not apply to the terms in the "list of conditions"? Moreover, if the disclaimer and endorsement prohibition are operative as conditions, what basis can there be for arguing that the other clauses are not? If the other license terms are operative, then the combined effect of clauses 2 and 3 is that redistribution of the source form must occur on the terms of the NBSDL." I don't think that "relicensing" is legally a well defined term. You must mean the concept of sublicensing, I suppose. (The act of sublicensing is what happens when a licensee becomes a licensor to some other party by granting some or all of the rights that they received as a licensee.) The "problem" is that nonexclusive copyright licenses are generally indivisible as a matter of law (this is referred to as "settled law" in every source you can find) unless the licensing contract states otherwise. This means that a nonexclusive license does not carry an implicit sublicense agreement. With the exception of the MIT License (which contains a sublicense clause), permissive licenses generally do not include a sublicense right and instead offer a direct grant of rights from the original licensor to any recipient of source code released by him or her under that license. Actually, according to the 9th Circuit, exclusive licensees are not transferrable or sublicenseable either unless otherwise stated. See Gardner v. Nike, a case which appears to have surprised a lot of lawyers at the time: http://www.law.berkeley.edu/institutes/bclt/pubs/annrev/exmplrs/csum/gardnervcsum.pdf I also note that you seem to insist on tying the concept of "relicensing" to the concept of GPL "compatibility": http://fsfeurope.org/projects/gplv3/barcelona-rms-transcript.en.html "The idea is that there are some other Free Software licences which are compatible with the GPL meaning that if a program is released under one of those licences, that licence gives, effectively, permission to relicence under the GPL. There are two ways that can happen. Some licences explicitly say "you can also use this program under the GNU GPL". In other cases, it's because the licence is so permissive that to relicence it under the GNU GPL is permitted." This doesn't seem to be a smart idea on your part because it makes BSDL-like permissive licensed code without sublicense grant totally GPL incompatible! regards, alexander.