GPL compliance

Daniel Carrera daniel.carrera at
Thu Jun 29 19:42:38 UTC 2006

On Thu, 2006-29-06 at 09:48 -0700, Gary W. Swearingen wrote:
> You'd better spend a few hours reading and thinking about copyright
> law.  (There are plenty of intros on the Internet.)

I've already spent a few years. I'm not exactly new to the GPL (but
IANAL). The first time I read it was 8 years ago, and I read it very
carefully then and I've spent a fair share of time since discussing the
legal implications of it, so don't treat me like I'm new to the GPL.

> You're supposed
> to have licenses from of _ALL_ owners of IP on the CD,

If I get two GPL programs, I can give them to you under the GPL as a
package, and you don't need two copies of the GPL for them. Ubuntu comes
with 50-100 thousand packages and the packages have at easily a million
IP owners. You don't need 100,000 or a million copies of the GPL. That
would make any redistribution prohibitive. Suppose I take 2 GPL products
and put them together as one program. Do you now need two licenses for
one product?

> But if
> they're nasty licenses with magic statement clauses, then you should
> (?) worry about your magic statements for all.

That's why I use a distribution that includes only free software. And
these are not "magic" statements. This is section 3 of the GPL.

> To repeat for clarity: That license that covers the CD is only between
> you and Canonical and only applies to the IP owned by Canonical.

That's not what the GPL says. I recommend that you spend a few hours
reading the GPL carefully. Pay special attention to section 3.

> Oh, sorry, I forgot the obvious fact that commercial publishers can
> (by 3b) use a statement too.  But we both seem to have missed 3(a),
> which some publishers seem to interpret to be satisfied by keeping the
> source on line, without a statement (a "written offer", whatever that
> might mean).

3(a) is not relevant because Canonical is not relying on it for its CD
distribution and nor am I. But if you're interested in 3(a) I would say
that keeping the source on-line is only useful when the distribution
itself is online, from the same site. But I wouldn't bet my house on
that interpretation.

  "The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the
  unreasonable man tries to adapt the world to himself.
  Therefore all progress depends on unreasonable men."
        -- George Bernard Shaw

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