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Circumventing the GPL

From: Hyman Rosen
Subject: Circumventing the GPL
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2008 13:31:29 -0400
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20080213)

It occurs to me that in the U.S. there is a relatively easy
way to circumvent the requirement of giving away source code
for GPLed software.

Company A prepares a work derived from GPL-licensed code.
Company B purchases copies of this work from Company A.
For each copy purchased, Company A sends Company B two disks,
one with the binaries and one with the sources. Company A has
thus completely discharged its duties under the GPL. Then
Company B turns around resells only the binary disks to its
customers, but not the source. Company B is allowed to do this
under the First Sale Doctrine, and therefore does not need a
license to resell the software. The customers of Company B
have no one from whom they can demand source code, and thus the
GPL is circumvented.

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