[linux-audio-dev] [OT] Linux, audio and the breach of GPL

Marek Peteraj marpet at naex.sk
Sun Apr 11 13:54:39 UTC 2004

On Sun, 2004-04-11 at 05:53, Simon Jenkins wrote:
> Marek Peteraj wrote:
> >On Sat, 2004-04-10 at 21:01, Simon Jenkins wrote:
> >  
> >
> >>Marek Peteraj wrote:
> >>
> >>>On Sat, 2004-04-10 at 19:42, Simon Jenkins wrote:
> >>> will at malefactor.org wrote:
> >>>
> >>>>>IANAL, but I'm 99% sure that when you give someone a GPLd executable, 
> >>>>>you're only obligated to provide that one person with the sources, not the 
> >>>>>"general public" (read: everyone on earth).
> >>>>>
> >>>>True. Just that one person.
> >>>>
> >>>That's what i meant by describing the extent to which the 'general
> >>>public' rule applies.
> >>>
> >>>      
> >>>
> >>It might be what you meant... but it flatly contradicts what you *said*.
> >>    
> >>
> >
> >I fail to see where, could you tell me? :)
> >
> >Marek
> >
> Oh, erm... somewhere in here...
> >"For example, you may charge a fee for the physical act of transferring a
> >copy, in which case you'd normally restrict access to those who pay. In
> >that case you're obliged to put a general public notice that _any_ third
> >party, which intends to pay a fee, will do so  for the physical act of
> >transferring a copy of GPLed software, which is being distributed in
> >form of machine readable source-code or as an object or executable form."
> >
> [ _underlining_ yours]
> ..."obliged to put a general public notice"...???  I don't think so: If 
> I give source
> code to those who pay then I'm done, finished, obligations discharged. 

Not sure what it has to do with my previous statement, but let me

Suppose you view a webpage which says:
SoftwareX for $30 -> buy/download

How will you know if it's GPL or proprietary?
Again, the GPL states that "you may charge a fee for the physical act of
transferring a copy", so you're not charging for the *copy* itself.
You're not paying for sw, you're paying for the service of providing the

Now suppose you're viewing a page that says:
Enter your product serial number and d/l SoftwareX.

If this case is ok with respect to the GPL, does it really matter if the
GPL is shipped with the software at all?
The GPL doesn't allow you explicitly to restrict distribution in any
case. As the nature of GPL - 'general public' implies, you just can't
restrict if you choose to. You have to have a legitimate reason to do
that. Offering services described above for a fee is one such reason.

> If I give
> them a written offer of source code instead then _some_ third parties 
> may also
> be entitled to the written offer

_some_ means not _any_: could you specify those entitled and those not?

> But even then its *not my 
> responsibility to make
> them aware of the offer*!

Thus,(again) the 'general public' rule applies to the extent the form of
distribution allows it to be applied. In other words, you're not obliged
to give source-code to everybody just becasue you gave your friend a CD
with GPLed software.

The GPL is perfectly incompatible with trade secrets.
It's here to protect the opensource developers.


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