GPL issue at my work place

Arnoud Engelfriet arnoud at
Thu Jan 17 15:04:58 UTC 2008

Tzeng, Nigel H. wrote:
> I think that he can mostly resolve the issue if he can get something
> from MySQL that explains the impact of GPL on his company from their
> perspective.  In a worst case scenario MySQL legal/sales will advise
> them to get a commercial license but they are buying RHEL anyway.  IANAL
> but I do not believe they need a commercial license.

MySQL will in situations like this tell you that you *do* need a
commercial license. I've been on the phone with MySQL sales reps
that told me I can't use the GPL version of MySQL in a product that
we sell. This is probably more of a sales tactic than a legal analysis
on their part though.

However the MySQL client libraries are GPL, and if he links those
to proprietary code and then gives the result to a contractor,
arguably MySQL can force them to also give the source code of
the proprietary code to the contractor, under the terms of the GPL.

My main point is that you don't want to get into this kind of
legal analysis with your corporate legal department. You need
the businesspeople to decide where and how your IPR is exploited
and the legal people to ensure that *that* exploitation model
is followed correctly.

IOW it's a business decision to GPL certain code. Not a decision
for Legal - but also not a decision for the engineer who puts
the code together.


Arnoud Engelfriet, Dutch & European patent attorney - Speaking only for myself
Patents, copyright and IPR explained for techies:
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