GPL License with clause for Web use?

Ciaran O'Riordan ciaran at
Wed Nov 21 15:33:23 UTC 2007

MJ Ray <mjr at> writes:
> Would it be acceptable for a free software licence to require that the
> web browsers or word processors on my laptop always have a "download
> source" control which always works for the user?

Nobody suggested that.  It's a fine question, but I think we already have
enough to discuss without adding what-ifs.

> That would certainly stop me letting people borrow my browser for a
> few minutes on the train to check their connections... "wait a mo,
> you're legally required to let it burn me a source CD".

This can never happen with any licence.  Copyright law simply doesn't allow
for it.

You don't need permission from the copyright holder to let someone use your
laptop for a few minutes.  No more than you do for letting that person read
your newspaper for a few minutes.

And the requirement is to give them a URL where they can get the source.
There's nothing in there about burning CDs.

CiarĂ¡n O'Riordan __________________ \ Support Free Software and GNU/Linux _________ \     Join FSFE's Fellowship: \

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