GPL and dsitribution of source code

Tomasz Wegrzanowski taw at
Tue May 28 08:07:52 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?
>  Does the GPL allow me to develop a modified version under a
>  nondisclosure agreement?
>     Yes. 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.
>  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.
> Now if the 'evil' company has such an NDA signed by the client I am 
> lost, am I not?

What this point seems to describe (now we entered 'labour law',
I know only Polish law about this, and I'm not sure if it's the same
as in your country) is contract for developement where client get
all the copyrights (`autorskie prawa majatkowe' ~ `financial author's rights').
to the client (`umowa o dzielo' ~ `work of art deal').

As a employee/contractor you didn't get any licence from your
employer/client - that is, it hasn't been distributed to you.
You just use it as part of work.

In any case this has completely nothing to do with making customers
sign NDA and works only because from legal standpoint, the program
hasn't been distributed/licensed to you.

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