gpl and web scripting

Ciaran O'Riordan ciaran at
Sat Oct 25 16:48:40 UTC 2003

On Sat, Oct 25, 2003 at 06:36:38PM +0200, Moritz Sinn wrote:
> hi,
> i've a question: lets say i write some software (e.g. with perl) that
> works web based (all you need to use that software is a proper
> webbrowser).
> now lets say i publish it under GPL. If now someone downloads the code
> and changes it and then puts it on his webserver so that everyone can
> use it there, does he have to publish the changes under GPL?
> I mean, its clear that if someone changes it and then pass the changed
> program on, he has to publish that version under GPL. but if he doesn't
> pass it on, if he just makes it useable, but it runs on his own
> webserver, is that the same?
> All he does is modifying the code and running that version on his
> public webserver.

This is the "webservices loophole" in the GPL.  Since the borrower
isn't distributing the script, they are not bound by the GPL to distribute
the source code.

GPLv3 should fix this, until then you can use the FSF-endorsed
Affero Public License:

Ciaran O'Riordan -

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