[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Linux Magazin Germany, affecting Debian's image?!

On 7/19/06, Matthew Palmer <mpalmer@debian.org> wrote:
On Wed, Jul 19, 2006 at 12:15:48PM +0200, Wouter Verhelst wrote:
> On Wed, Jul 19, 2006 at 07:51:30AM +1000, Matthew Palmer wrote:
> > On Tue, Jul 18, 2006 at 05:04:02PM +0200, Wouter Verhelst wrote:
> > > If you distribute binary images with a magazine and have something in
> > > that magazine saying "if you want the source write to <address> with a
> > > photocopy of this specific text", everything is okay.
> >
> > No more so than "if you want the source write to <address>, enclosing a
> > picture of you petting a cat".  Unless, of course, you can show that "a
> > photocopy of this specific text" is a necessary cost of providing the
> > source.
> You're only required to provide the source to those who received a
> written promise from you or anyone who passed on the written promise.

3b) Accompany it with a written offer [...] to give any third party, for a
    charge no more than your cost of physically performing source
    distribution, a complete machine-readable copy of the corresponding
    source code

Sorry, I just don't see how your interpretation comes out of that.  Can you
elaborate further?

(from http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#WhatDoesWrittenOfferValid)
What does this "written offer valid for any third party" mean? Does
that mean everyone in the world can get the source to any GPL'ed
program no matter what?
   "Valid for any third party" means that anyone who has the offer is
entitled to take you up on it.

   If you commercially distribute binaries not accompanied with
source code, the GPL says you must provide a written offer to
distribute the source code later. When users non-commercially
redistribute the binaries they received from you, they must pass along
a copy of this written offer. This means that people who did not get
the binaries directly from you can still receive copies of the source
code, along with the written offer.

   The reason we require the offer to be valid for any third party is
so that people who receive the binaries indirectly in that way can
order the source code from you.

I agree that the wording in the license is not crystal clear.  IANAL,
but I wonder if that piece of the GPL could not be worded better
(maybe consider for GPLv3?)

Here's a longer piece of that section (3b):
b)  Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three years,
to give any third party, for a charge no more than your cost of
physically performing source distribution, a complete machine-readable

If any third party *knows* about the existence of such an offer --
perhaps because they know that Company A licensed some software to
Company B under the GPL -- could they cite its existence and thereby
claim their right to a "machine-readable copy" ?

My guess is that the lawyers who drafted the GPL knew or believed that
the courts would interpret such a "written offer" like a coupon:  you
have to physically (or electronically, etc...) have a copy of that
particular written offer in order to redeem it for the source code.
Again, IANAL, and I'm sure that a lawyer would be able to give us a
more concrete confirmation of the legal implications of this section
of the GPL.

-- Robinson Tryon

Reply to: