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Re: Circumventing the GPL

From: David Kastrup
Subject: Re: Circumventing the GPL
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2008 21:23:40 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.0.60 (gnu/linux)

Hyman Rosen <> writes:

> 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.

You mean if I pay somebody to drop a brick from a window when I signal
him, I am not accountable for murder?

> 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.

You'll have a hard time explaining to the judge that this first company
was not acting on your behalf and is an independent seller of
prepackaged software.

A really hard time.

The difference between computers and judges are that neither considers
it funny if you try meeting the letter of the law while violating its

David Kastrup, Kriemhildstr. 15, 44793 Bochum

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