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

Simon Jenkins sjenkins at blueyonder.co.uk
Sun Apr 11 14:12:46 UTC 2004

Marek Peteraj wrote:

>Suppose you view a webpage which says:
>SoftwareX for $30 -> buy/download
>How will you know if it's GPL or proprietary?
I won't unless they tell me. But I don't normally spend $30 without
finding out what it is I'm buying first.

>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
That's from section 1, conncerning source transfer. There's no such 
in section 3 concerning object/executeable transfer. See FAQ "Does the GPL
allow me to sell copies of the program for money?"

"Yes, the GPL allows everyone to do this. The right to sell copies 
<http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.html> is part of the
definition of free software. Except in one special situation, there is 
no limit on
what price you can charge. (The one exception is the required written 
offer to
provide source code that must accompany binary-only release.)"

>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?
Yes it matters. See FAQ "Why does the GPL require including a copy of the
GPL with every copy of the program?"

>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.
Its *re*distribution you can't restrict. You can restrict your own 
of object/executeable as much as you like, and your obligation to distribute
source only extends to people you distributed the executeable to... *unless*
you use the "written offer" option, in which case that written offer may be
passed along by your distributees.

> You have to have a legitimate reason to do
>that. Offering services described above for a fee is one such reason.
"Because I don't want to" is a legitimate reason not to distribute the
executeable to someone.

"Because I didn't distribute the executeable to you, nor did I make a 
offer of source code to someone who distributed the executeable to you" is
a legitimate reason not to distribute the source to someone.

>>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?
What, *again*? OK then.

If you distribute an executeable and provide a written offer of source 
3b) then your distributees may pass along the written offer to third parties
(section 3c).

Simon Jenkins

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