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Re: Circumventing the GPL

From: Hyman Rosen
Subject: Re: Circumventing the GPL
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2008 15:11:09 -0400
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20080213)

John Hasler wrote:
Sure, you could buy Debian CD sets from CheapBytes, throw away the source
CDs, and sell the binary ones.  So what?  Are suggesting that company B
contract with company A to do this?  If so company A is company B's agent
and the GPL is violated, not circumvented.

I don't see anything in the GPL that would imply that when
one company hires another to create GPLed software, the two
companies become united into a single entity. The GPL does
not talk about agents.

It's also perfectly legal for one company to pay another to
develop modified works derived from GPLed code, and to pay
that company more money in exchange for not distributing the
software to anyone else. The software developer delivers the
multiple copies of sources and binaries to the hiring company,
gets money to not deliver it to anyone else, and is done. The
hiring company uses the first sale doctrine to resell only the
binaries. It never has to accept the GPL. The end users have a
license from the the original developers under the GPL, but no
one from whom they can demand the modified sources.

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