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Re: Upstream changing Licenses [Was: perl-Locale-Maketext-Simple.spec]

On Sat, May 27, 2006 at 06:50:07AM +0200, Ralf Corsepius wrote:
> do you think upstream is legitimated to do so?

I honestly couldn't say.

> I am facing the same situation with perl-Locale-Maketext-Lexicon (from
> the same author). There, upstream has changed the license from
> GPL/Artistic to MIT.
> IMO, by having done so, upstream probably has violated the law, because,
> in general, they cannot change the license a package unless they own the
> copyright of all parts a package consists of.
> Locale::Maketext::Simple only lists one author, with
> Locale::Maketext::Lexicon, the situation seems unclear:
> http://search.cpan.org/src/AUTRIJUS/Locale-Maketext-Lexicon-0.61/AUTHORS
> lists 20-25 contributors, while the source code only lists one
> individual (the CPAN maintainer).

Open a ticket in rt.cpan.org?  Maybe email the CPAN maintainers and/or
Perl Foundation for some backup?

> I am not certain on how to handle the situation. To be on the safe side,
> I considering to regard my perl-Locale-Maketext-Lexicon rpm as
> derivative work of the original work and consider to ship it under the
> GPL only.

Couldn't you just call it "GPL or Artistic" still?

> The fundamental questions would be:
> * Who owns contributions to code in CPAN having been released under
> GPL/Artistic before?
> IMO: If the "contribution is copyrightable", the contributor. He is
> contributing under the licenses the original author had granted. The
> original author is not legitimated to change the license on such
> contributions without explicit permission.
> * Is the maintainer of CPAN modules legitimated to change a license from
> GPL/Artistic to MIT?
> Here, I am not sure about the implications of the Artistic license.

The CPAN maintainers (or somebody) needs to clarify some of these
things.  It would also be *really* helpful to have an explicit policy
from them for things submitted to CPAN with no stated license.  (I'd
like to see them make everyone agree to "no license == same terms as

So far I've had this issue with both Data::UUID and OpenFrame.

Steven Pritchard - K&S Pritchard Enterprises, Inc.
Email: steve kspei com             http://www.kspei.com/
Phone: (618)398-3000               Mobile: (618)567-7320

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