[Rd] Licence change

Mauricio Zambrano-Bigiarini mauricio.zambrano at jrc.ec.europa.eu
Fri May 3 17:31:41 CEST 2013

On 03/05/13 16:56, Simon Urbanek wrote:
> On May 3, 2013, at 10:34 AM, Mauricio Zambrano-Bigiarini wrote:
>> Dear list,
>> For the maintainer of a given package, is it possible to change the licence of a it from GPL >= 2 to GPL >= 3 ?
> In general the maintainer has no such rights. However, if the maintainer is also the author and holds all copyright, he can release the package under any license he feels fit. What has been already released cannot be affected, obviously, but you can release a new version under a different license if you have the legal right to do so.

Thank you very much Duncan and Simon for your replies.

The package I'm asking about has 1 author [aut] (me) and 1 contributor 
[ctb] in the 'Author' field of the DESCRIPTION file. Both of them hold 
the copyright of the package.

In case we want to change the licence. Do the 2 authors write something 
particular in the next submission to CRAN ?
Do we need to provide some written document to CRAN ?

What Duncan means with
"If you are distributing the package on CRAN, you'll have to ask them 
whether they'll still choose to distribute your package after the change"

May CRAN to decide not to distribute the package because of the change 
in the licence ?

> (This is not related to the possibility, but one practical problem with requiring GPL >=3 is that it is not GPL-2 compatible so it's a decision that better be made very consciously with all the consequences in mind).

If the package we are talking about is pure R code, with only some 
dependencies to other R packages, what are the implications of:

" one practical problem with requiring GPL >=3 is that it is not GPL-2 

Thanks again,


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