Redefining GPL?

Danese Cooper danese at
Thu Nov 30 06:00:03 UTC 2006


As the GPL is written and maintained by the Free Software Foundation  
(, you will get quickest results by taking your concerns  
to them.  They have a full-time staff that works with GPL violators.   
Be advised however that the current draft of GPLv3, which has been  
through several drafts this year and is expected to be final sometime  
next year, includes an additional trigger to close the loophole that  
"performance" of code on a webserver might not be considered  
distribution.  In other words, RMS might agree with them that this at  
least is a reasonable modification.


On Nov 29, 2006, at 9:29 PM, Michael Bernstein wrote:

> I am aware of a company that recently publicly released code (under  
> the
> GPL) to several web-applications that they no longer consider to be
> competitive advantages.
> The twist is, that they have explicitly defined 'distribution' that
> triggers the republication requirement to include publicly hosting a
> modified version of the application. And insist that they are within
> their rights to do so.
> I've tried reasoning with them by posting comments on their blog
> (including pointing them at the relevant sections of the FSF's GPL  
> FAQ),
> but the comments were never published. I do know they have read my
> comments though, as they followed up to clarify the 'confusion of some
> people in the open-source community' (ie. we're just confused, and
> they're right).
> On top of this, they mangle the GPL in a couple of other ways:
>         - They specify their subversion repository as the required  
> means
>         of republishing modifications
>         - The LICENSE file has a pre-preamble added before the GPL to
>         define distribution and republishing as described above (I
>         believe this violates the FSF's copyright on the license)
> And finally, their pre-announcement blog-post is using the OSI logo  
> as a
> sort of endorsement.
> I'm not interested in outing these folks publicly just yet, but I am
> also clearly not getting through to them (nor do I have any more  
> time to
> try and get them to listen to me). Therefore, I'd like to hand this  
> off
> to someone more authoritative and better equipped to get their  
> attention
> and get them to do the right thing.
> Volunteers?
> - Michael R. Bernstein

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