Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 15th Aug 2007 21:37 UTC
Novell and Ximian In the wake of last week's ruling that Novell, and not SCO, controls the copyrights covering UNIX, Novell is reassuring Unix users that it has no plans to follow in SCO's footsteps. Given that the company is no longer in the business of selling UNIX, it has no reason to pursue any copyright claims.
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If I acquire the software from you under the GPL you cannot later tell me that you have changed the license for me.

Yes, you can. Without specific language in the agreement forbidding it (specific language that all versions of the GPL have lacked), anyone can withdraw from any legal agreement at any time -- including licensing out materials. This is not something that a specific license must grant you, but an innate right (as common sense tells you). (Even if the GPL, any license that forbids you from withdrawing from the agreement would not be considered legally binding in many jurisdictions -- it would be asking someone to sign away something they cannot sign away.)

For example: Microsoft could, at any moment, decide to end all their current license agreements and tell us to stop using Windows. It'd be corporate suicide, and they'd probably be carved to small ribbons by lawyers claiming all sorts of damages, but it's within their power to do so.

For another example: Anyone who has contributed code to the Linux kernel could change the license it may be used under at any time. No matter how much the armchair laywers at Groklaw and Slashdot complain, unless the Linux kernel maintainers got an easily bribed judge to preside over the case, they would be forced to comply with the contributor's new license terms or cease use of that contributor's code. It'd probably get the contributor threatened and harmed in various ways by the more radical members of the Linux community, but it'd be all within their rights.

Edited 2007-08-17 06:05 UTC

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