Assume that the source file A contains the following license notice:

"This code is Copyright 1234 by XYZ. It may be freely redistributed in its entirety provided that this copyright notice is not removed."

Can I combine it with a project B published under the GPL version 3 license? In particular, does the lack of a permission to modify source file A ("redistributed in its entirety") prohibit that?

  • I would ask (with much more specific details) on some @fsf.org list. Commented Jun 26, 2014 at 16:57

1 Answer 1


For a formal answer on the compatibility of the two licenses, you need to ask a copyright lawyer or the FSF.

My, non-lawyer, take on it is that the two licenses are not compatible and that you can't use file A in a GPL project.
The licenses are incompatible because the license on file A gives you fewer rights than the GPL (you don't have the right to modify), and the GPL requires that the rights given by the GPL must be valid for the entire program that uses the GPL code, even the portions of the program that aren't licensed under the GPL.

  • Can you pinpoint the appropriate section in the license? Commented Jun 27, 2014 at 8:39
  • The relevant sections of the GPL are 5.c and 10. 5.c states that the GPL applies to the complete program and 10 prohibits you from restricting the freedoms given by the GPL. Commented Jun 27, 2014 at 10:51

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