gnu-misc-discuss
[Top][All Lists]
Advanced

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: GPL and other licences


From: Stefaan A Eeckels
Subject: Re: GPL and other licences
Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2006 17:34:26 +0100

On Wed, 15 Feb 2006 15:09:08 +0000
Graham Murray <address@hidden> wrote:

> I doubt that the intention was to provide more rights to users of
> modified programs which read commands interactively than to users of
> any other software licensed under the GPL. Therefore by extrapolation
> it is saying that by licensing the work under the GPL (which is
> required when an original work is modified) the licensee (for the
> moment take that to be the owner of the physical copy) must permit
> users of the work to obtain copies (and thus become licensees
> themselves) which they are then free to distribute and/or modify under
> the terms of the GPL.

This very wide interpretation (giving copies to all who come into
contact with the program) is not how the GPL has been interpreted by
the FSF itself.

>From http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/gpl-faq.html :

|-----------------------------------
| * If I know someone has a copy of a GPL-covered program, can I demand
| he give me a copy?
|
|    No. The GPL gives him permission to make and redistribute copies of
| the program if he chooses to do so. He also has the right not to
| redistribute the program, if that is what he chooses.
|------------------------------------
| * What does this "written offer valid for any third party" mean? Does
| that mean everyone in the world can get the source to any GPL'ed
| program no matter what? 
|
| "Valid for any third party" means that anyone who has the offer is
| entitled to take you up on it.
|
|    If you commercially distribute binaries not accompanied with source
| code, the GPL says you must provide a written offer to distribute the
| source code later. When users non-commercially redistribute the
| binaries they received from you, they must pass along a copy of this
| written offer. This means that people who did not get the binaries
| directly from you can still receive copies of the source code, along
| with the written offer.
| 
|     The reason we require the offer to be valid for any third party is
| so that people who receive the binaries indirectly in that way can
| order the source code from you. The GPL says that modified versions,
| if released, must be "licensed ... to all third parties." Who are
| these third parties? Section 2 says that modified versions you
| distribute must be licensed to all third parties under the GPL. "All
| third parties" means absolutely everyone--but this does not require
| you to *do* anything physically for them. It only means they have a
| license from you, under the GPL, for your version.
|-------------------------------
| * A company is running a modified version of a GPL'ed program on a web
| site. Does the GPL say they must release their modified sources? 
| 
| The GPL permits anyone to make a modified version and use it without
| ever distributing it to others. What this company is doing is a
| special case of that. Therefore, the company does not have to release
| the modified sources.
| 
|     It is essential for people to have the freedom to make
| modifications and use them privately, without ever publishing those
| modifications. However, putting the program on a server machine for
| the public to talk to is hardly "private" use, so it would be
| legitimate to require release of the source code in that special
| case. We are thinking about doing something like this in GPL version
| 3, but we don't have precise wording in mind yet.
| 
|     In the mean time, you might want to use the Affero GPL for
| programs designed for network server use. 
|--------------------------------
| * Is making and using multiple copies within one organization or
| company "distribution"? 
|
| No, in that case the organization is just making the copies for
| itself. As a consequence, a company or other organization can develop
| a modified version and install that version through its own
| facilities, without giving the staff permission to release that
| modified version to outsiders.
| 
|     However, when the organization transfers copies to other
| organizations or individuals, that is distribution. In particular,
| providing copies to contractors for use off-site is distribution.
|--------------------------------
| * If someone steals a CD containing a version of a GPL-covered
| program, does the GPL give him the right to redistribute that
| version? 
|
| If the version has been released elsewhere, then the thief probably
| does have the right to make copies and redistribute them under the
| GPL, but if he is imprisoned for stealing the CD he may have to wait
| until his release before doing so.
| 
|     If the version in question is unpublished and considered by a
| company to be its trade secret, then publishing it may be a violation
| of trade secret law, depending on other circumstances. The GPL does
| not change that. If the company tried to release its version and still
| treat it as a trade secret, that would violate the GPL, but if the
| company hasn't released this version, no such violation has occurred. 

So it would seem you're out on a limb with your interpretation.

Take care,

-- 
Stefaan
-- 
As complexity rises, precise statements lose meaning,
and meaningful statements lose precision. -- Lotfi Zadeh 


reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]