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Free Software Foundation Updates GPL

July 2, 2007

On Friday, the Free Software Foundation released version 3 of the General Public License.

The concept of the license is that anyone can modify or redistribute the source code of a GPL-governed project, but any change and subsequent redistibution of affected software must be published.

New provisions in the updated license note that the license itself carries an implied grant of patent, entitling a royalty-free perpetual license to any GPL licenses that apply to each software. The provision would block legal entanglements or exclusive arrangements where a signatory to the license is involved.

""If you arrange to provide patent protection to some of the people who get the software from you, that protection is automatically extended to everyone who receives the software, no matter how they get it," Brett Smith, the foundation's licensing-compliance engineer told Stephen Shankland of

Additionally, the provisions now say that an owner of a device (such as TiVo) that uses GPL software has the right to change that software without fear of legal action.

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