5

The EUPL in its §1 states that "to distribute" includes

making available, online or offline, copies of the Work or providing access to its essential functionalities at the disposal of any other natural or legal person

explicitly mentioning remote services as in the AGPL (as well as other usages).
The EUPL then later, in its §5 Compatibility Clause, states that Derivative Work based upon an EUPL-licensed work can be licensed under both the GPL and LGPL, and that in the event of conflicts, then the terms of the GPL and/or LGPL prevail.

However, both the GPL and LGPL lack such wordings on remote services, and also, in GPL §7¶4, explicitly state that

if the Program as you received it, or any part of it, contains a notice stating that it is governed by this License along with a term that is a further restriction, you may remove that term.

My understanding therefore is that any recipient/user of EUPL-licensed software can relicense it under the terms of the GPL and strip the remote service mention off as it is a "further restriction."
Is this right?

1
  • The key point here is: conflict. If the GPL expressly specified that SaaS distribution is not covered, there would clearly be a conflict with the EUPL and the derived work could be accessible online under the GPL without having to share its source code. But if the GPL license is simply silent on this point, there cannot be said to be a conflict. Apr 14 at 9:23

2 Answers 2

7

EUPLv1.2 s5 has a "trapdoor" provision, and says that

If the Licensee Distributes or Communicates Derivative Works or copies thereof based upon both the Work and another work licensed under a Compatible Licence, this Distribution or Communication can be done under the terms of this Compatible Licence.

It lists the "Compatible Licences" in the Appendix, and it includes inter alia GPLv2 and v3, and LGPLv2.1 and v3.

But taking advantage of that ability requires the creation of a derivative work which is a combination of the EUPL-licensed work and a separate work licensed under that other licence. That's not a problem if you're the creator of that other work, as you can licence it as required for form's sake, before folding it into the EUPL work, and taking advantage of the trapdoor. But it does still require the existence of a second work to fold into the EUPL work; however small that is, it must be something big enough to qualify for copyright protection in its own right.

The upshot is that in order to use the trapdoor you must make changes to the EUPL work, and those changes must be more than de minimis. You may not simply receive the EUPLv1.2 work with your left hand and distribute verbatim copies of it under GPL with your right.

Your secondary point about GPLv3 s7 allowing you to strike conflicting EUPL terms after the relicensing misunderstands the nature of relicensing. When it is permitted, the new licence supersedes the old, replacing it as the set of conditions governing the copyright licence; no terms from the old remain, so there's no need to strike them.

2
  • 2
    Couldn’t someone else then take the combined work (that is now under GPL), remove the part that was added (as allowed by GPL), and get back the to original work, but now under GPL?
    – Didier L
    Apr 10 at 22:44
  • That's a whole different question, but off the top of my head, if it was done by a genuine third-party, acting without privileged information, I don't see why not.
    – MadHatter
    Apr 11 at 5:06
-2

The key point is: conflict. If the GPL expressly specified that SaaS distribution is not covered, there would clearly be a conflict with the EUPL and the derivative work could be accessible online under the GPL without having to share its source code. But if the GPL license is simply silent on this point, there cannot be said to be a conflict. None of the listed EUPL-compatible licenses excludes the coverage of SaaS: all of them (except AGPL) simply forget to consider it.

Another point is that the coverage of SaaS may not be seen as a restriction of the provided rights, bus at the contrary as an extension...

3
  • SaaS coverage may not be a restriction, but it is not a permission either as it is a condition to the licence, and GPL§7¶4 says that any added non-permissive terms is to be understood as a "further restriction," so it is not silent on this point.
    – Longinus
    Apr 15 at 4:02
  • So, you aree that Saas coverage is not a restriction. Since you refers to GPL §7, please consider that the real purpose of SaaS coverage is the protection of recipients’ rights and freedoms against proprietary software code appropriation when software is distributed remotely. GPL §7 illustrates this philosophy, stating “this section has the sole purpose of protecting the integrity of the free software distribution system, which is implemented by public license practices." May 7 at 14:55
  • I'm sorry; I was referring to GPL v3 §7 whose ¶4 renders the discussion of what constitutes a restriction or not irrelevant by stating that "all other non-permissive additional terms are considered “further restrictions” within the meaning of section 10." Wrt. GPLv2, while I can see your point, it is also something the FSF disagrees with (GPLv2's FAQ & revised v3's FAQ) and I think it could be a question of its own(?).
    – Longinus
    May 8 at 2:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.