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Can it be? Specifically, can someone release software under the BSD license, then later legally prevent others from using that version under that license?


"Few if any legal systems have a process for reliably donating works to the public domain. They may even prohibit any attempt by copyright owners to surrender rights automatically conferred by law, particularly moral rights. An alternative is for copyright holders to issue a licence which irrevocably grants as many rights as possible to the general public, e.g., the CC0 licence from Creative Commons." (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_domain#Dedicating_works_...)

There's some sort of legal doctrine to the effect that you can't be punished for taking an action that someone led you to believe was authorized. This would protect you in cases where you use the licensed software when the license was still in effect.

I suppose the better question is whether someone can rescind their license for their work and prevent future legal use of that software. I'd like to think that's not possible either, but I have no clue to be honest.

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