[kwlug-disc] Wordpress themes must be GPL

R. Brent Clements rbclemen at gmail.com
Thu Jul 29 12:50:42 EDT 2010


I just re-read the GPL v3 quickly, and I see nothing about being
obligated to anyone other than the entities I directly conveyed the
work to.  I understand that in a feel-good, share-and-share-alike
world that is all very feel good and all, but it is the line that
divides.  If RMS was required to give away copies in order to have the
right to sell them that would be completely different.  In my example
above the nominal cost of receiving a copy of my source from me is
$100, and I will throw in a free copy of the binaries and related
data.

>From the licence:
--begin cut
6. Conveying Non-Source Forms.
You may convey a covered work in object code form under the terms of
sections 4 and 5, provided that you also convey the machine-readable
Corresponding Source under the terms of this License, in one of these
ways:
a) Convey the object code in, or embodied in, a physical product
(including a physical distribution medium), accompanied by the
Corresponding Source fixed on a durable physical medium customarily
used for software interchange.
b) Convey the object code in, or embodied in, a physical product
(including a physical distribution medium), accompanied by a written
offer, valid for at least three years and valid for as long as you
offer spare parts or customer support for that product model, to give
anyone who possesses the object code either (1) a copy of the
Corresponding Source for all the software in the product that is
covered by this License, on a durable physical medium customarily used
for software interchange, for a price no more than your reasonable
cost of physically performing this conveying of source, or (2) access
to copy the Corresponding Source from a network server at no charge.

--end cut

Key part there is obligated to give the source to those who possess
the object code
And from what I can tell including the source only with the original
distribution is perfectly legit under the GPL

Obviously my 10 customers could decide to redistribute the contents of
the medium in any way they see fit, but if they don't copy the whole
package including the source to their "customers" they are modifying
the work and would have to cover the cost of distributing the source
themselves.

Brent

On Thu, Jul 29, 2010 at 12:12 PM, Khalid Baheyeldin <kb at 2bits.com> wrote:
> On Thu, Jul 29, 2010 at 12:00 PM, R. Brent Clements <rbclemen at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>>
>> I have asked this question before, and I am not sure I have ever heard a
>> definitive answer, but this is what I don't understand about GPL software
>> distribution.
>>
>> If I create code "derived" from existing GPL'd code I need to licence it
>> GPL.  Which makes sense.  If I choose to sell the code, for say $100, I have
>> the right.  And under the GPL when I distribute the software I am required
>> to grant access to the source code for my code and the pre-existing code.
>>
>> The question is this.  If I sell 10 copies of the software, am I not only
>> required to provide access to the source code to those 10 customers.  If
>> some guy sends me an email stating that he/she wants the source under the
>> terms of the GPL, what obligation do I have to give it to them?  I know that
>> one of the 10 people I sold it to now have the right to do that, but I am
>> not required to identify them, am I?
>
> You are not required to identify them. But anyone can ask for the source
> code,
> and you should make it available.
>
> Because your derived work is licensed under the GPL, and you are not just
> using it internally, you are "distributing" a GPL licensed code, and
> therefore you should make the source code available to anyone who ask. You
> can charge a reasonable cost to cover expenses. This used to be mailing
> tapes, or floppies, or CDs. Nowadays, it is having an FTP site to download
> the source from.
>
> Moreover, anyone who bought the program from you has the right to the source
> AND has the right to share it with anyone under the GPL license as well, be
> it free or for money.
>
> Even if none of the buyers ever ask for the source code, you can still be on
> the hook for it. And if you withhold the source code for a third party
> request, you could eventually get on
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gpl-violations.org too. Not a big deal, since
> most people eventually comply, but you don't want the publicity.
>
> That is why I said earlier in the thread that although the GPL allows for
> charging money for GPL code, it inhibits the business model where people
> want to make money selling copies of the software.
>
> More reason for due diligence ahead of time, from a legal point of view,
> rather than finding out too late in the game that you have a flawed business
> model.
> --
> Khalid M. Baheyeldin
> 2bits.com, Inc.
> http://2bits.com
> Drupal optimization, development, customization and consulting.
> Simplicity is prerequisite for reliability. --  Edsger W.Dijkstra
> Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. --   Leonardo da Vinci
>
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