I have detected an abuse of GPLed software...

MJ Ray markj at cloaked.freeserve.co.uk
Sat Jun 15 09:50:54 UTC 2002

Luca Mercuri <luca at evy.it> wrote:
> The folks at BlueSoft have just taken PHPNuke, with its default skin, 
> renamed it, and changed its copyright notice, which now reads [...]

That's interesting.  I think all copyright holders should probably be
credited, but I'm not 100% sure about whether that is required.  Anyone?

> I would like to know whether this is really an abuse, as I really believe,
> and what steps I should better follow to bring it to an end.

I believe this is an abuse only if they are offering a modified version of
PHPnuke for sale under a different licence.  That is, they are supplying it
to their customers and either trying to prevent them from using their rights
under the GPL or not supplying the source upon request.  Because most PHP
applications are supplied as source code anyway, that part is unlikely.

> Of course, I thought about writing to them to inquire about the software
> they sell (for example, with questions like: did you develop it?  and may
> you quote your price for it?),

It may be worth asking them what licence terms they are selling under, but
do it carefully and tactfully, please.

> or directly and openly warn them that I think they're committing an abuse
> and ask them to cease.

This is almost definitely the wrong thing to do.  You're not even sure that
they're doing anything wrong and, in any case, you're not a copyright holder
of PHPnuke (are you?), so you probably can't do anything to make them stop. 
If you find that they are breaking the licence, the correct next step is to
notify the copyright holder, maybe the company and only then the public. 
Remember that licence breaches may be misunderstanding rather than malice.

My Opinion Only.  It has ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY.


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