Spotting GPL violations

Jeroen Dekkers jeroen at
Sat Dec 11 15:30:00 UTC 2004

At Sat, 11 Dec 2004 13:21:59 +0000,
Philip Webster wrote:
> Hi,
> A piece of software has come to my attention that may be violating the 
> GPL. Details are as follows:
> - The software is an interface (GUI, intermediary routines) between a 
> proprietary operating system and the Free printing system GIMP-Print.
> - The company distributing the software is not offering source code, and 
> has not licensed the derivative work under the GPL.

The question is whether this is really a derivative work. "An
interface" doesn't really say anything, it can be a library interface
or it could talk over some protocol using sockets.

> - The software can only be downloaded after a 'donation' is received to 
> unlock the download page.

This on itself is allowed under the GPL, but you aren't allowed to add
extra restrictions on the software downloaded.

> - The software is downloaded as a complete package which includes both 
> proprietary and GPL-licensed code. The interface itself is useless 
> without GIMP-Print and was written specifically for it, rather than as 
> an abstract printer interface and GUI. It is also possible to download 
> the Free parts separately.
> This sounds a LOT like a GPL violation, but I'd be interested to hear 
> what others' first impressions are.
> I'll post some links to more detailed evidence once the initial batch of 
> responses come in...

Not giving all information is really counterproductive with things
like this. If you don't give the details, I can't give a good opinion
about it.

Jeroen Dekkers

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