On Fri, 14 May 2004, Ronan Cunniffe wrote:
> > a work (including source) for any amount the copyright holder desires.
>> I still think this is incorrect.
>> Suppose company X incorporates some big chunk of GPL code into
> their product, and when confronted, they say (big press splash)
> that they'll GPL the whole thing, source code available on
> demand.... for a fee of 10^12 euro.
1. Presuming that they would not be the copyright holder to the
derived work, thus they themselves must abide by the GPL, as these
are the only rights they have to the work.
The copyright holder on the other hand is not bound by section 1 of
the GPL, which grants the right to copy a work and be able to charge
a fee for the physical copy, because they already have unlimited
rights, as copyright holder, to make copies. The GPL need not apply
to the copyright holder here if they do not choose for it to apply.
It only applies in so far as if you distribute your work under the
GPL and hence grant others rights under the GPL, that you fulfill the
promises you have made to the recipient, as per the rights you
granted them when you gave them a licence to the work as per the GPL.
The recipient is not the one who makes the copy, it is the copyright
holder, hence the "fee for physical act of copy" in section 1 does
not apply to them, if they do not choose for it to apply.
(The GPL is quite clear that it confers rights and _responsibilities_
onto the *recipient*. The copyright holder is the only person not
fully encumbered with these responsibilities, and only to the extent
that they must honour their obligations as to those rights they grant
2. You're referring to section 3b. Where source code is _not_
distributed with the binaries.
If I, as copyright holder, sell you a GPL work and include the source
code, then section 3b does _not_ come into play. If I give you the
source code with the work then, according to the GPL, I have _not_
given you the right to ask me for source code later on for a
"reasonable" fee. I will have discharged my responsibilities as per
the GPL, section 3a.
Further, even if section 3b _does_ apply, I can still charge you as
much as I want for the initial sale of the binaries, if I am the
copyright holder. However, I will have granted you, and any 3rd
party, the right, as per 3b, to seek from me, within 3 years, the
source code "for a charge no more than your cost of physically
performing source distribution".
> In other words, there is a mechanism (albeit complicated and unpleasant)
> for preventing a copyright holder charging anything they desire.
I'm almost certain you are incorrect.
You are confusing the rights of the copyright holder, who is not
initially encumbered with the obligations of the GPL, and is only
encumbered in so far as they have to provide source code to the
recipient or any 3rd party, as per 3a or 3b, with the rights and
responsibilities the recipients of copyrighted works have if granted
distribution rights under the GPL.
However, I'm pretty sure the FSF have an email address you can ask.
(they also btw have a GPL quiz online, which might interest you,
including, iirc, questions very much related to your (IMHO)
confusion on the GPL.)
Paul Jakma paul at clubi.iepaul at jakma.org Key ID: 64A2FF6A
warning: do not ever send email to spam at dishone.st
Q: How can you tell when a Burroughs salesman is lying?
A: When his lips move.
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