Unpublished GPL Software

strange at nsk.yi.org strange at nsk.yi.org
Wed Jul 10 20:40:57 UTC 2002

On Wed, Jul 10, 2002 at 10:22:05PM +0200, Rodger Etz-Brown wrote:
> Hi,
> the following is based on a real case.
> Company A has contracted company B to write a piece of software.
> Company B manages to negotioate with company A that the software will be
> put under the GPL. Because it is now GPL, company B has used the
> software in other projects
> The issue now is that neither company A nor B have published the software. But
> there is interest from outside those companies to see and use the
> software. And it seems the only way to get this is to ask an employee of
> either company to get a copy of the software.
> So what about an employee of company B, the company that wrote the S/W,
> would publish it? Would he/she need to ask permission from any of the
> companies? Is it legal to just take and publish any software that is
> under the GPL, even the author(s) haven't published it before?

The agreement is that it will be distributed/published under the GPL or
that it already has? In the former case the program isn't under the GPL
until the owners decide to publish it under the GPL.

Personally, I think that an unpublished software isn't yet available under
the GPL. Remember that authors use GPL to give the users rights and so
that that user can't take those rights back. As it is, the company didn't
give the employee the program, and he would be like stealing the company.

Remember that an author isn't bound by the GPL (if he has put it under the
GLP) to give you his program. He can give it to and only to whom whe
wants. (Those in turn can do the same, but they can't take his program
without his permission.)

Luciano Rocha

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