[josm-dev] License clarification for JOSM plugins

Gabriel Ebner ge at gabrielebner.at
Mon Apr 14 21:06:31 BST 2008

On Mon, Apr 14, 2008 at 08:42:23PM +0100, Gervase Markham wrote:
> Putting "GPLv2 or later" headers on all the files would not require 
> seeking the permission of anyone. No file has been restricted to "GPLv2 
> only" by a header,

Copyright usually works the other way round.  You retain all rights, including
modification, sublicensing, etc., until you explicitly give a permission to do

I'd consider it dangerous to simply add an "or later" clause to existing files
without requesting approval from the authors.  Especially since josm contained
a copy of the GPLv2 since about 3 years ago.  I think we can only safely
expect the contributions to be under exactly that license, i.e. the GPLv2.

> and the GPL says that if no version number is 
> specified, then any can be used. Adding headers like that would make 
> things much more clear.

Do you have any sources on that?  My copy of the GPLv2 only explains what an
"or later" clause is supposed to mean (article 9), not that it is supposed to
hold "by default".


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