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Re: Selling CDs...

Please note that I am still not a lawyer or a DD or speak for anyone
etc. etc. (just trying to be helpful).  I do not warrant that any of
the sketchy ideas provided here are correct or legal or doable, don't
sue me if they are not.  Don't claim that I have been dealing out legal
advise without a license, if you want to do any of this for real, ask
a real, licensed lawyer to check your business methods or take full
responsibility yourself.  Personally I have not tried or done any of
what is described here (as far as I recall).

On Sat, Aug 25, 2001 at 07:50:38PM +0200, Thomas Uwe Gruettmueller wrote:
> On Saturday, 25. August 2001 10:01, Edmund GRIMLEY EVANS wrote:
> > Thomas Uwe Gruettmueller <sloyment@gmx.net>:
> >
> > Please note that I am not a lawyer and I am not speaking on
> > behalf of Debian.
> Sure.
> > > When I understand the stuff on http://cdimages.debian.org
> > > correctly, Debian suggests to sell also incomplete sets of
> > > the official CDs, e.g. only Binary-1. If it is really
> > > possible to sell Binary-only-CDs, how does it relate to the
> > > GPL??? And does this rule only apply to the official CDs or
> > > also to e.g. a developer snapshot of woody?
> >
> > (1) If you're distributing an official CD and Debian suggested
> > that you can do this, then you probably don't have to worry:
> > just tell people that you're acting as an agent for Debian and
> > refer them to www.debian.org.
> However, according to section 3b, GPL, I would still have to 
> give my customers a written offer that Debian will offer the 
> source code for three years, right?

If YOU charge for the discs, bundle them with some product you
sell (say a magazine) or hand them out to advertise such a
product etc. etc. you must include or offer the source (not
just tell people that Debian or someone else does that).
This is a common example of the principle that the consumer
can always demand that the shop handles the trouble of contacting
the supplier (In this case, you are the shop).

If YOU give away the discs for free without any relationship to
commercial activity, you can hide under 3c and just tell people
whatever you were told by whomever gave you the original.

> > >     c) Accompany it with the information you received as to
> > > the offer to distribute corresponding source code.  (This
> > > alternative is allowed only for noncommercial distribution
> > > and only if you received the program in object code or
> > > executable form with such an offer, in accord with
> > > Subsection b above.)
> I have just bought 6 binary-CDs (a woody snapshot) for approx. 
> 12$. However, I did not get a written offer to also get the 
> corresponding sources on CD. So, if I understand the GPL right,
>  o I cannot copy and distribute these CDs at all, not even for a
>    friend, at no cost.

This one is a little strange:  If you got the CD from someone
who was violating the GPL in giving you the copy, do you have a
license at all?  The language in the GPL about you not loosing
your license if that someone violates the GPL later may not
cover the case where the violation was to give you a bad copy
in the first place.

Assuming you do have a license, you can still give it away if you
can satisfy a, b or c for source code matching the CDs (not a
later or earlier snapshot).  You can still sell it if you can
do this for a or b.

How you manage to give people source code you don't have is your
problem, but for option c pointing people to www.debian.org might
be fine if you say something like "According to the information I
have received, the corresponding source code can be downloaded
from the mirrors of www.debian.org, as of the date of the
snapshot" (that Debian has later updated the contents of master
with new versions is not your problem under 3c, if you are not

>  o Even if I had such written offer, I could not copy and
>    distribute these CDs commercially (e.g. also 12$ for all).

Assuming you do have a written offer.  You have 3 options for
commercial distribution:

Under 3a: Take the offer now, get the source CDs and include them
when you distribute the copies of the binary CDs.

Under 3b: Take the offer now, get the source CDs and put them
in your safety deposit box.  Give people a written offer valid for
at least 3 year to provide copies of the source CDs in your
deposit box at nominal charge.

Under 3b too:  Put the coupon with the written offer you received
in your safety deposit box.  Give people a written offer valid for
at least 3 years to provide copies of the source CDs at nominal
charge.  If and when anyone takes you up on this offer, dig out
the coupon, buy the source CDs (at your own expense) then make the
copies.  Beware that if the offer you received expires before the
offer you give you may have to get the source CDs anyway just
before the first deadline to cover yourself in case someone takes
your offer after that.  (Example: "upstream" gave you a 3 year
offer starting on August 1 2001, you give people a 3 year offer
starting September 1 2001.  The first person to want a source CD
from you calls on August 15 2004, you call upstream but their
offer expired 2 weeks before, your offer has 2 weeks left, you are
in trouble).

This message is hastily written, please ignore any unpleasant wordings,
do not consider it a binding commitment, even if its phrasing may
indicate so. Its contents may be deliberately or accidentally untrue.
Trademarks and other things belong to their owners, if any.

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