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Re: GPL and software timeout/expiration

From: Rui Miguel Seabra
Subject: Re: GPL and software timeout/expiration
Date: 03 Apr 2003 18:10:29 +0100


On Thu, 2003-04-03 at 16:49, Paul Pang wrote:
> In my case I would
> like the software to timeout after a period of time 
> (say thirty days) after which the user would have to
> pay a reasonable fee to register it. I would like to
> know whether this complies with the GPL or not.

First and foremost, you must take in mind that I'm not a member of the FSF
nor a Lawyer.

The GNU GPL is a Free Software license, so it provides to the user the
following four freedoms:

 0. The freedom to run the program, for any purpose
 1. The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your
    needs. Access to the source code is a precondition for this. 
 2. The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbour.  
 3. The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to
    the public, so that the whole community benefits. Access to the
    source code is a precondition for this.

Before even considering the GNU GPL, you are saying that you want to
restrict the user from running the program after a certain period of

If and only if you distribute the sources for the same program, it seems
to me that you can do as you are in effect propose, but bear in mind
that that it is not very ethic to demand for a repeated payment for
something you made once, and freedom 1 will most likely be exercised by
someone to remove the nagware code, hence throwing away the time you
lost coding it in the first place.

Two possible scenarios:
  1. you don't offer downloads, but still sell the Free Software
  2. you offer downloads, and *invite* the user to pay you a reward
  3. The overall price compensates for that program

Remember, it's Free Software, so anyone can then redistribute the

Why don't you just avoid all the hassles and bothers for such a small
part and just do step 3?

Or better yet:

    Why don't you just free the whole program suite?


+ No matter how much you do, you never do enough -- unknown
+ Whatever you do will be insignificant,
| but it is very important that you do it -- Gandhi
+ So let's do it...?

Please AVOID sending me WORD, EXCEL or POWERPOINT attachments.

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