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Re: Drupal module licensing

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On Feb 12, 2011 5:24 AM, "Lyos Gemini Norezel" <lyos.gemininorezel@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>
> On 01/19/2011 07:42 AM, Paul W. Frields wrote:
>>
>> As the FAQ states:
>>
>> "4: I want to release my work under GPL version 3 or under GPL version
>> 2-only. Can I do so and host it on Drupal.org?
>>
>> You can release your work under any GPL version 2 or later compatible
>> license, however, you may only check it into Drupal's CVS repository
>> if you are releasing it under the same license as Drupal itself, that
>> is, GPL version 2 or later. If you are unable or unwilling to do so,
>> do not check it into Drupal's CVS repository."
>>
>> So if the module is carried in Drupal CVS, it *must* necessarily be
>> licensed GPLv2+.
>
>
> Sorry to drag up such an old post... I'm way behind in email reading.
>
> This caught my eye and I had to respond.
>
> I'm no lawyer... however, doesn't the above quote from drupal make the entire codebase non-free?
>
> For all intents and purposes... drupal is saying "use this license or get lost", which calls into question who really owns the code.
>
> Is drupal effectively claiming ownership (and therefore licensing rights) over all of the code in their repository?
>
> Or is this kind of arm twisting allowed by supposedly "free" licenses?
>
> Lyos Gemini Norezel
>
> P.S.- Sorry Paul... forgot to use "reply list" instead of "reply".

No problem... Here's what I wrote earlier. IANAL and all that, here's my two cents.

I think there's a central misunderstanding in the questions: GPLv2+ licensing has no effect on "who owns the code."  The copyright on the code belongs to its authors.  GPLv2+ licensing is a copyright license that among other purposes extends freedom to recipients to use, modify, and redistribute.  This licensing does not change the ownership of the copyright on the code.

The Drupal project requires GPLv2+ licensing for code to be carried in Drupal's project CVS.  The requirement ensures the Drupal project and its contributors retain all the rights granted by the GPLv2+, such as the right to redistribute and modify the code.

The requirement also ensures that any code checked into CVS is licensed for use with all the GPLv2+ licensed code in the repository. For instance, it's possible (and in fact common practice) for people to download Drupal's Core, plus a selection of modules, and then provide that along with pre-configured options as a turnkey solution which can be redistributed, marketed, sold, and supported as a business model.

I don't know a reason why a project's requirement for specific free licenses should be viewed as strong-arming.  After all, both parties have something to gain from the relationship of having code in Drupal's CVS system.  Furthermore, the Drupal project doesn't prohibit an author from multiple licensing of code (as long as the additional licensing doesn't invalidate the licensing under GPLv2+, presumably). For instance, jQuery is found in Drupal CVS, which is dual-licensed MIT/GPLv2.

There is no free software project I know of that doesn't have some
sort of licensing requirement. Without a requirement of some sort, a project could too easily suffer the tainting effects of improperly licensed code.

--
Paul W. Frields                                http://paul.frields.org/
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