Hypothetical GPL licensing question

Discussion in 'Computer Games and General Discussion' started by Nimbus, Feb 27, 2012.

  1. Nimbus
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    Nimbus sudo /usr/bin make-me-a-coffee --nosugar --cream=1

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    Probably being lazy.
    Ok, a friend of mine is asking if a program that was once GPL'd or licensed under it's various variant licenses, can be relicensed under a closed source license. I dont believe that it can, but clarify this for me.
     
  2. SifJar

    SifJar Not a pirate

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    Sure. The original developer can change license whenever they darn well please. It is their code, they can do what they want.

    Someone else taking their code cannot however, unless the original developer grants them an exception (for example, tantric granted an exception to the Riivolution team for libwiigui).
     
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  3. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    If you mean can I take some GPLed code I found on the internet and fork it before releasing it under a closed license then good luck with that (no). I will however note that GPL does not explicitly mandate releasing source to all and sundry but just those that are using it (it is how many bigger businesses maintain their own internal versions of open source projects- quite often employing the main programmer on the GPL project itself to help out).

    If you mean I wrote (or otherwise own the copyright to) some code subsequently GPLed it and now want to take it closed then sure- several applications have gone both ways (closed to open and open to closed). If a copy of the source is still out there though you have no real rights to do anything (see how several things have been forked when a similar thing to what I described in the sentence happened over the years) about that. Edit- as SifJar mentions below this does not stop you say releasing version 3 as a closed product but version 2 is out there for anybody to play with still.

    If you mean can I dual license a later version of the code I own (probably related to the question above) say to also use a BSD license or some other license for those that want it then yeah.

    I am sure I could go on but those are the big three.
     
  4. Nimbus
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    Nimbus sudo /usr/bin make-me-a-coffee --nosugar --cream=1

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    Nov 1, 2009
    Probably being lazy.
    Thanks for the responses. It does clarify a great deal, but I get the general consencus that if a copy in any form of the source code is still publicly available, the answer to going from Open > Closed is nope.avi.
     
  5. SifJar

    SifJar Not a pirate

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    Of course, once something is out there is no way you'll ever be able to eradicate all existence of said thing. But you can‚Äč re license a piece of software by releasing another release under another license, and the source of that version never has to be out in the open at all.