synaptics driver MIT license approach

Yan Seiner yan at
Tue May 8 13:05:57 PDT 2007

Daniel Stone wrote:
> On Tue, May 08, 2007 at 11:08:25AM -0700, Yan Seiner wrote:
>> Isn't there some kind of 'quiet title' provision in the license?  Seems 
>> to me that this sort of thing should be handled.  Say you attempt to 
>> contact the author, his/her last known employer, post on mailing lists 
>> s/he used to frequent, and if you don't get a response for say 6 months 
>> the license can be changed?
>> Just mulling out loud....
> No, because that's absolutely insane.
> 'We tried contacting you to relicense your GPL code to BSD, but
> couldn't, so we just put it in our proprietary app.  Cheers!'
> Copyright passes to the estate if someone dies, so you can convince the
> executioner to do as you like.  But if you simply can't find the person,
> or they don't want to talk to you -- bad luck.
Not really insane; that's how real estate is handled.  If you have a 
piece of land where ownership cannot be determined, or where the owner 
has died/disappeared and cannot be located, there is a legal framework 
in place for clearing title for the land.  Otherwise the landscape would 
be dotted with parcels you couldn't anything with....

All I'm asking is if there is a similar provision in the GPL and other 
FOSS licenses, and if not, shouldn't there be?  Otherwise perfectly good 
code will be thrown out because the owner couldn't be located.


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