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Legally isn't it totally NPM as a company to publish existing versions of left-pad because those versions were already released under a license that allows redistribution, whether the author wants them to or not? Or can the author effectively veto this?

Good question. Under something like GPL or Apache, npm (or anyone, really) would have a clear legal reason to continue using and redistributing the code; there's nothing the copyright holder can do about that (unless you actually violate the license terms). Under WTFPL, that's certainly the intent of the license, but I haven't heard any court declaring a case based on WTFPL, so you don't actually know what the courts would make of it. But in general, yes, I'd bet a court would let people do what the f* they wanted once they got some code under WTFPL.

The separate question is: ethically or business-wise, do they want to continue publishing code from an author who explicitly tells them not to? Legally they (almost certainly) could, but as a FOSS business, would they want to?

Software Licenses are pretty easy for the basics - after you read the whole thing.

From what I can tell[0], left-pad was released under the "Do what the fuck you want public license"[1], so I suppose NPM can do whatever the fuck they want, including redistribution.

[0] https://www.npmjs.com/package/left-pad (although I suppose its possible the library was added after the package was re-added -- I don't see a license on the GitHub page)

[1] http://www.wtfpl.net/

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