Re: Use of exception to communicate legal ambiguity
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Thanks for sharing this question. I've been mulling it over and don't have a good answer, so here instead are a few disjointed thoughts.
My main hesitation with an "If-Needed-exception" (assuming there was specific wording, etc. that it was tied to) is that I'm wondering if that isn't already inherent in any license statement in the first place.
If a work of "dubious copyrightability" contains any license notice, MIT or GPL or whatever, that's telling the recipient that they are permitted to use (or copy, or modify, or distribute...) the work under that license. The recipient might determine that the rights granted by that license are not actually necessary, given the nature of the work. The recipient determines that they won't infringe any exclusive rights by making use of the work even without the license. The presence of the license statement doesn't affect this; nor would the presence of a license statement tied to an "if this work needs a license, here it is" notice.
So in the example you mentioned, I tend to think that the SPDX license expression is accurately described as:
// SPDX-License-Identifier: GPL-2.0-or-later
I do take your point, though, that there could be value in capturing the "legal intent being expressed in the file" that a particular file or work might not need a license. So I could be persuaded that I'm wrong here.
On Tue, Nov 23, 2021 at 1:56 PM Richard Fontana <rfontana@...> wrote: