juridical Question on software and GPL

Moritz Sinn moritz at freesources.org
Fri Mar 26 20:32:29 UTC 2004

"Axel Schulz" <axel at schulz.ph> writes:

> Hello at all!
> I do think that this software does not violate the GPL. And: The "distributer" on http://www.bemme.de seems to be the original author of the software. So, he can do what ever he wants to do with his software, right? Even selling it. ;-)

well, yes. but if he puts it under gpl he has to follow what gpl says.

> As I understand the GPL it is allowed to sell the binary file of the software BUT on request the source code has to be provided for of charge.

more or less. the source code has to come with the software. so its not
allowed to claim an extra fee for the source code.

> And now I have an additional question to all of you: If Volker gets this source code he can modify, "keep the software as it is", and redistribute it as it is or modified. Right? He can do so with or without to charge a fee for the re-distribution (e.g. from his website). I think the GPL allows explicitly to charge for the redistribution. So, he would not violate the GPL if he would do so. Is this a correct interpretation of the GPL? 

yes, that's what the part of gpl that i quoted in my last mailing
says. and that's why you cannot earn money with programming free software. you have to
hope on the economical side effects.

> I think this is the the real "mess" of the GPL. It is the economical/commercial effect (!!!). Why should people go on and get the software from http://www.bemme.de/ when they can download the same piece of software from any other website (e.g. Volkers ;-)). 

if your main goal is to earn money and not to write good software you've
todo it the classical way: like microsoft.

> What would be important for Volker to notice is: The GPL would require him to publish the derived (or the same) version of the software again under the GPL (see: the broad discussed viral affect of the GPL ([1])).

exactly. else someone could steal free software, close it and earn lots
of money with the work of others. exploit the free software programmers.

> I hope I am correct with my assumptions about GPL'ed software. I really hope so, because I argued in this way in my MA thesis ;-))
> That's why only selling a GPL'ed software doesn't make (ECONOMICAL) sense. You have to sell services (like support etc.) in addition to really get money out of it. Or you have to publish the software under two licenses (like MySQL AB, Sweden [2]). But this is only efficient when you are going to build up giant enterprises where the "free riders" are a valuable part of your business model.

afaik it is not allowed to publish gpl software under a second
license. i don't know how mysql does that.


You have a tendency to feel you are superior to most computers.

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