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Re: dual licensing

Here's a response from an FSF volunteer:

-- begin --
> [ajdlinux@gmail.com - Fri Nov 04 22:35:22 2005]:
> Are copyright holders who license software under the GPL compelled to
> release source code?
> e.g.
> Person A writes a program.
> Person A says it is under the GPL.
> Person A gives a copy of the software to Person B, but does not make
> the program available by other means (eg internet, mail order)
> Person B wants source code
> Is person A required to give person B the source code to a GPL program
> he holds full copyright on?

Dear Andrew,

In this specific case, while B should be able to receive the source code
under the terms of the agreement that A shared the software with them,
there is no one to force A to actually share the source code. (Unless,
perhaps, legal action were taken regarding the misleading nature of the
offer that A was making.)

If the code includes any other GPL'd code from a different copyright
holder, then they are required to release all the source - either with
the software or via a written offer valid for all third parties.

Zak Greant


So person A can withhold the source as long as the program doesn't
contain other GPL code. However person B could begin legal action over
a misleading deal.


On 11/5/05, Justin Pryzby <justinpryzby@users.sourceforge.net> wrote:
> On Fri, Nov 04, 2005 at 11:30:03PM -0600, Christofer C. Bell wrote:
> > On 11/4/05, Henning Makholm <henning@makholm.net> wrote:
> > > Scripsit Andrew Donnellan <ajdlinux@gmail.com>
> > >
> > > > I mean the *developer* must comply with both licenses, eg if you d/l
> > > > under the GPL and MIT, then the developer must still put the written
> > > > offer for source code
> > >
> > > By "developer", do you mean "copyright holder"? He can legally do
> > > whatever he pleases. In particular, he can offer the general public
> > > a licence under terms that he does not himself comply with.
> >
> > Are you saying it's possible for a developer to release GPL covered
> > software in binary form without releasing the source code as long as
> > he's the copyright holder?  That sounds awfully bizarre...
> That's my understanding.  The copyright holder can do whatever they
> want.  Yes, doing such a thing is bizarre, and I can't think of a
> reason why anyone would do it.  It doesn't actually grant anyone else
> any modify+distribute rights, and is arguably suficiently inconsistent
> to not grant anyone any rights.  But it could be done and I don't see
> that its "illegal".  If it is, just use a "my interpretation of the
> GPL is that this is not illegal" clause.
> :)
> Justin
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