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Re: Do web applications disable GPL obligations?

"M. Tyler" <mtyler70@yahoo.com> writes:

> "Måns Rullgård-3" writes:
>>Mark Tyler <mtyler70@yahoo.com> writes:
>>> Dear all,
>>> I hope this is the right list to discuss GPL related issues. (Or where
>>> would be a better place to get help with the following question?)
>>Your question doesn't relate to Debian, so strictly speaking it is
>>off-topic here.
> We are talking about Debian servers, of course ;-)
> Fact is that I haven't found a list or a newsgroup where GPL questions are
> answered nearly as competent as here. So I thank all writers for sharing
> their experience.
>>It is my understanding that source is only required to be supplied to
>>those who receive binaries.  In your case, it seems pretty clear that
>>the Java classes should be accompanied with source (or instructions
>>how to obtain it).
> This is exactly how I see the situation. But two questions remain to be
> clarified:
> 1) I have not mentioned explicitly that the Java classes are published as
> applets on a website. They are not offered as standalone download. I don't
> see any difference in that the source code of GPLd applets must still be
> made available, do you?

Anyone who can get their hands on the Java class files has a right to
get the source code as well.  It doesn't matter how they obtain those
files, or whether whomever they were obtained from was aware of the
files being distributed.  It is the responsibility of the server
operator to keep track of what is distributed from his server, and
ensure that any conditions attached to such distribution are adhered

> 2) What about icons which are delivered with any GPLd software (not
> necessarily our situation, but if it is different, please mention the
> crucial points as well)? I haven't found a conclusive answer in previous
> discussions on this list. I don't see how icons are affected by the GPL,
> because the GPL deals with source code and binary program code, not with
> media files.

This is a (common) misconception.  The conditions of the GPL can be
applied to anything, not just program code.

> For this reason I assume that icons remain copyright of their
> creator, such as any data which is published without any license at
> all. Is this assumption true, or what are the obligations if
> somebody copies icons onto his website, icons that we created for
> and distribute with our GPLd software?

It is usually assumed, unless otherwise noted, that artwork included
in a package is under the same license as the source code.  It is,
however, not all too uncommon with special conditions for logos, icons
and the like.  C.f. the Mozilla projects.

>>However, source for software that only runs on the
>>server need not be supplied to users of the service.
> This is evident.
>>Disclaimers: IANAL, TINLA.
> BTW, is there a reason why many of the list contributions end with these
> acronyms? Do they have any legal significance or do they only show that you
> don't want to be misunderstood to tell the final truth?

You can never be too careful in legal matters.

Måns Rullgård

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