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Re: software licensing

On 1 Sep 1998, Rob Tillotson wrote:

> Derek Noonburg <derekn@aimnet.com> writes:
> > Here's what I was trying to accomplish.  For example, say a company
> > took xpdf, made some changes and then distributed it to all of their
> > branches to be used in their commercial workflow.  As long as no one
> > distributes the binary outside the company (and their employees will
> > be under contractual obligation not to),
> Hmm.  Is this even possible?  Can the employees be obligated to not
> distribute GPL software?  It seems to me that this is exactly the sort
> of thing the "infectiousness" of the GPL was designed to prevent!
> The GPL is very clear that when you redistribute the software,
> everyone who gets it must be given the same, complete set of rights.
> If you prohibit the recipients from further distribution, you are not
> granting them the rights the GPL requires you to grant, and thus you
> are violating the GPL on the original code.  (Furthermore, you cannot
> use your own added code as a justification, because the GPL on the
> original version clearly requires that the total work be GPLed.)
> The only way to achieve "private distribution" of GPLed code is by a
> sort of "gentlemen's agreement" -- an agreement which, by the very
> nature of the GPL, *cannot* involve the developer at all.  It is thus
> possible to have a sort of temporary private distribution -- during
> testing and development, for instance -- but impossible to enforce it
> should anyone decide to pass the code out on their own.

Impossible to enforce legally.  But, if my boss told me not to distribute
it, I wouldn't sue him for it, would I?  I'd do what he suggested, to keep
my job.  [In fact, I wouldn't work for that kind of boss, and I freelance
anyway - I'm being hypothetical]


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