Unpublished GPL Software

João Miguel Neves joao at silvaneves.org
Wed Jul 10 20:45:42 UTC 2002

On Qua, 2002-07-10 at 21:22, 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?
> I'd be interested in general views and feelings about this and
> information about the legal side of it.
My advice is: talk to a lawyer.

My opinion:

	You'll probably won't be able to get that software without the
authorization of either A and B. The employees have not been distributed
the software under the GPL, the software and the licenses they are using
are from their companies.

	You are allowed to publish previously unpublished GPL works as long as
you have received them under the GPL. Nobody can be forced to publish or
distribute a GPL work.

	I hope I helped,

						João Miguel Neves
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