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Re: "object code" in the GPL and printed copies

Frank Kuester wrote:
>Has it been
>discussed, and if yes to what end, whether a printed version (of a
>GPL'ed document) would be "object code" as treated in section 3,
>On the one hand, treating printed copies of the work just the same as
>any digital "compiled" version sounds logical and in the intent of the

Well, the draft for GPL v3 says:
>"Object code" means any non-source version of a work.
Everyone seems to like this.
So in GPL v3 it will be very clear that a printed copy is "object code".

Unless you have a perverse copyright holder, I would assume that a printed 
copy qualifies as "object code".

The usual complaint is different: people want to be able to distribute printed 
copies without supplying source.  This can be achieved with GPL+extra 

Indeed, an author can, to a certain extent, restrict commercial trade of the 
printed version this way.  A publisher can publish a printed version under 
the GPL, but they have to tuck a CD with the complete source code for the 
book into every copy of the book.  I would say that that would have to 
include all the typefaces used in the book, which would have to be under 
GPL-compatible licenses; and the cover art, likewise; and even the 
specifications for reproducing the binding.  If they don't want to do that 
(and with the current behavior of publishers, I bet most won't want to), they 
need to get separate permission from the author.

I would recommend that authors who wish to supply free documentation but wish 
to effectively restrict commercial trade in printed copies should follow this 

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