selling GPL sources

Ian Lance Taylor ian at
Tue Sep 20 03:17:58 UTC 2005

Rick Moen <rick at> writes:

> Quoting Ian Lance Taylor (ian at
> > "Guilherme C. Hazan" <guich at> writes:
> > 
> > > I'm aware of a program that uses the GPL license and the author made
> > > the binaries free but not the sources. He asks a fee for the sources
> > > (about 100usd).
> > > 
> > > Is this legal or is he infringing the GPL license?
> > 
> > The GPL permits "a charge no more than your cost of physically
> > performing source distribution."  If his cost is 100USD or greater,
> > than he is not infringing.  If his cost is less than 100USD, then he
> > is infringing.
> So, he'll have to sue himself for copyright infringement?

We are missing all the interesting details here.  Perhaps it was a
mistake for me to answer at all, except to point out that fact.

I agree that if the distributor is the sole author of the code that it
is meaningless to speak of infringement.  The original posting does
not indicate one way or another.

I'm certainly not recommending any particular action, in the absence
of a lot more information as to what is happening.


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