GPL and dsitribution of source code

Tomasz Wegrzanowski taw at
Mon May 27 23:46:08 UTC 2002

On Tue, May 28, 2002 at 01:23:50AM +0200, Jan Wildeboer wrote:
> Tomasz Wegrzanowski wrote:
> >Only if YOU got this binary, you are entitled to get the sources.
> >The fact that someone distributes binary or sources to other people
> >doesn't entitle you to anything.
> OK. So I have learned this: "Any third party" doesn't mean anyone, only 
> those that have got the program - may it be binary or sources - from the 
> distributor.

This "any thind party" option applies to everyone but only in case
when they distribute binaries without accompanying sources.

> >There is no way to force the distributor, no matter if he distributes
> >binaries or not.
> And it also doesn't make a difference if the distributor's work is 
> merely a change in our sources we have decided to distribute for free. 

GPL doesn't give any additional rights to original authors.

> So when any company decides to take our project and distribute it for 
> money there is no way for us to enforce them to comply to our policy.

If you want to "enforce policy" you have to write it in licence.
If your policy is "forcing everyone to disclose sources" then
GPL is not right choice for you.

Of course you can try persuasion etc.

> But when any of his customers that has paid the fee decides to 
> distribute the program (binary or sources) for free the distributor has 
> to accept this as the right of distribution is part of the GPL

Yes. Everyone who got sources may distribute them.

> >>Is that something that other see as a flaw in the GPL? Or am I alone 
> >>with my opinion?
> >
> >It's not a flaw. Licence that would force you to distribute code
> >(sources or binary) that you wanted to keep for yourself would be
> >non-free according to DFSG and OSI definition.
> So in the case we are facing we MUST pay the distributor to gain access 
> to a derived work that we programmed? But as soon as we have paid we are 
> entitled to distribute again for free at our will?


But remember that you didn't program it. Part that you want was
programmed by them. Part that you programmed you already have anyway.

> If that is the case, I will at least know how to react.
> But I guess that will still allow me to inform our community of the fact 
> that a certain company has decided to not follow the rules we would like 
> to see followed but cannot enforce. Or is that something we are not 
> allowed to do as we may not put any restrictions on the GPL? It is our 
> philosophy to distribute our project for free and we ask all 
> contributors to do the same. But as we are not allowed to put 
> restrictions like this on top of the GPL I am a bit confused of what I 
> can do and what I am not allowed to do.

Of course GPL doesn't limit your free speech rights.

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