GPL and dsitribution of source code

Luciano Miguel Ferreira Rocha strange at
Tue May 28 00:45:07 UTC 2002

On Tue, May 28, 2002 at 02:29:09AM +0200, Jan Wildeboer wrote:
> Tomasz Wegrzanowski wrote:
> > GPL doesn't allow such NDAs. You are allowed to sue them for copyright
> > infringement.
> Not?

That's not what happened. The client didn't contract that company to
develop changes for them and wait to release the sources untill they said

What happened is that a company changed your program and is now selling
it, distributing it, but under a NDA, effectively removing the righs of
the client for redistribution (or so they hoped).

>   For instance, you can accept a contract develop changes and
>   agree not to release your changes until the client says ok. This is
>   permitted because in this case no GPL-covered code is being distributed
>   under an NDA.
>      You can also release your changes to the client under the GPL, but
>   agree not to release them to anyone else until the client says ok. In
>   this case, too, no GPL-covered code is being distributed under an NDA,
>   or under any additional restrictions.

In your case, GPL-covered code is being distributed under a NDA, against
the GPL.

>   The GPL would give the client the right to redistribute your version,
>   but in this scenario the client will choose not to exercise that right.

In your case, the client doesn't have much choice, does it? It had signed
a NDA forcing it to keep the source secret. But that violates the GPL,
your copyright on the code, and so they have no longer any right to
distribute your software with or without any changes.

> Now if the 'evil' company has such an NDA signed by the client I am 
> lost, am I not?

The examples you gave were for clients having companies sign a NDA, not
the other way around.

Luciano Rocha

PS: is it 'a NDA' or 'an NDA'?

Luciano Rocha, strange at

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