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Re: GNU License, Again


From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: GNU License, Again
Date: Mon, 21 May 2007 22:18:15 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.1.50 (gnu/linux)

mike3 <address@hidden> writes:

> So then if I do NOT own the GPL program, but make it a vital unique-
> functionality component, however I do NOT distribute it (the GPL
> program, not the non-GPL one) in a non-GPL way and only distribute
> the NON-GPL components of the program (ie. the ORIGINAL) ones in the
> non-GPL way (since I own it I can do whatever the heck I please),
> then it is still OK, since I'm still not trying to take over or
> restrict the GPL program and the GPL program is still being
> distributed for free.

That's not the letter of the GPL you are obeying, but some fuzzy
notion of yours.  The problem here is contributory infringement: the
infringement is _planned_ and _prepared_ by you with the end-assembly
to be done in a mechanical way by the customer as your agent.

It does not matter _where_ the customer will get his GPL source to do
this step.  _If_ the customer manages to get a copy from the copyright
holder under a more permissive license, there actually will not even
be an infringement.

Can you explain plausibly to the court that you could reasonably have
expected the customer to bargain for a copy of the GPLed software
under a different license?

If you can, you are off the hook, and only your customer may be in a
mess (depending on just what he did with the combined code).

> If this is still not permitted, why not? What would be the rationale
> for making the license that way? It does not seem to be to preserve
> the freeness of the GPLed code, since the above scenario would still
> keep it free, after all.

The GPL is intended to guarantee the freedom of the code itself _and_
descendants.

-- 
David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum


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