Regarding threats to "CoC" you. - You do have recourse - license rescission
Date: Thu May 09 2019 - 11:17:48 EST
Dear Poul-Henning "UNIX guru at large" Kamp;
Many have noticed threats made against you recently to seek your
ejectment from the FreeBSD project as retaliation for statements
you made protesting the ceaseless and ever on-going slaughter of
innocents; A transparent attempt to censor your political speech,
if there ever was one.
I am forwarding this message below to you because if such is
attempted, you do have recourse: and that is the rescind the
gratis license you have granted regarding the use of your works of
authorship. You may rescind these grantsfrom your attackers, those
who fail to defend your right to free speech, from the project
itself, or from all free-takers (if such is your wish).
Remeber: A non-exclusive license grant is not a transfer of
copyright, and such a license absent bargained-for consideration
is just that: a license (permission); it is not a contract and does not
bind the /grantor/ to any terms. It can be revocated at
any time, for any or no reason.
This applies to all the "classic" free licenses, from the MIT
license, to the BSD license, to the GPL.
The proclamations made by some as to the irrevocability of freely given
non-exclusive licenses are incorrect.
If the non-exclusive licensee did not pay the copyright holder
consideration for receipt of the permissions given regarding the
copyrighted work, the copyright holder can freely rescind those
permissions _AT_ANY_TIME_ .
The reasons are as follows: For the licensee to "hold" the licensor to
any promise regarding when and how rescission is to take place there
must be a contract between the two. A contract requires valid
bargained-for consideration. Otherwise any "promise" made is an Illusory
"Nothing" is not valid consideration.
Obeying a pre-existing duty is not valid consideration.
The licensee has a pre-existing duty to obey copyright law, without
permission from the copyright holder he may not
That permission is what he is attempting to "contract" for. Saying one
will follow those permissions is not valid consideration to "pay" for
those permissions. Promising not to violate the copyright holder's
rights -by promising to only use the copyrighted works as freely
permitted by the copyright holder, is not valid consideration as that is
a pre-existing duty.
Yes: you _C_A_N_ revoke GPL/BSD/MIT/etc permissions from free-takers at
your will. And you should do so if that is needed for your livelihood to
You should do so if it is simply your want.
(And you should do so if you are attacked by those free-takers)
Do not the pennyless leaches intimidate you from making your own
decisions regarding your work of authorship. They gave you nothing, you
asked for nothing, they have nothing. Remember: a non-exclusive license
is not a transfer, it is permission. Permission that can be ended at any
time unless there exists an attached interest (ie: the other side payed
you for a license contract)
Also Remember: The FSF has _always_ (and still does) required Copyright
Transfers before it would accept a contribution.
And yes: I am a lawyer.
Of course: consult your local copyright attorney. Strategy is important
in these cases. The free-loaders feel they have the 9th circuit judges
in the bag, and that the 9th circuit will invalidate the concept of
consideration if needed to protect the California tech industry (so
revoke from those outside the 9th circuit first).
For easy to read by lay-people discussions on this topic:
For legal articles and treatises that agree: no consideration from GPL
free-taker, no contract, revocable by the copyright holder:
(Note: all discussion herein is in relevance to US law)