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Re: Retailing

On Mon, Nov 14, 2005 at 08:12:06AM +0100, Peter Vandenabeele wrote:
> On Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 05:38:59PM +0000, Philip Hands wrote:
> ...
> > You should be careful not to give the impression that you are charging a
> > license fee though -- you are allowed to charge a fee for the copy of
> > the programs, or for the service of installing them, but not for the
> > licenses (in the case of the GPL software at least, which covers most of
> > the software in question)
> My understanding was different. 
> Indeed, in GPL you are only allowed to charge for the price of the physical 
> copy (the CD, the shipment cost) when you are asked to provide the sources 
> after you already delivered the program (e.g. in binary format).

Yes, as mentioned in the "Selling Free Software" document to which I
referred, this is the only case in which you are restricted in the
amount you can charge for a copy of a GPLed program.  If you were always
providing the source along with the binaries no such limit on the charge
would exist.

The fact that you are charging for a copy of a program and it's source
does not mean that you are charging for the license.

Clause 2.b) of the GPL reads:

  You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in
  whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any
  part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all
  third parties under the terms of this License.

so you're not allowed to charge for the license.  The reason being that
if you were supposedly charging for the license then the implication
would be that the recipient would have to pay you again to get a second
license, which is not the case.

> But initially (before you have not delivered any part of the program), you 
> can charge any price for the program, as long as you obey with GPL and only 
> relicense the program under GPL to the customer. 

You can do that repeatedly if they feel like paying you for it, but what
you're charging for is the act of distribution, not the license.

Cheers, Phil.

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