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