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Re: GPLv3 question regarding server applications

From: Bruce C. Miller
Subject: Re: GPLv3 question regarding server applications
Date: Fri, 1 Aug 2008 07:09:34 -0700 (PDT)
User-agent: G2/1.0

On Aug 1, 7:36 am, Ciaran O'Riordan <> wrote:
> Hi Bruce,
> Below are my thoughts, but I can't be sure I've understood the situation,
> and I'm no lawyer anyway.
> "Bruce C. Miller" <> writes:
> > Say you take a project that is a server application, which is released
> > under the GPLv3, make some modifications to it and then make it
> > available on the internet for anyone to connect to.
> Under GPLv3, you would not have to make your modified source code available.
> What section of GPLv3 makes you think you would be required to make source
> available?  (you might be right, I might have misunderstood the situation.)

I'll clarify with some specifics.

There's a game server emulator that is released to the public under
the GPLv3. We've taken this project, modified it into our own version
of the server, and made it available for the public to connect to.
Obviously, our project is still under the GPLv3, since the original
one was. We've made our code available to the public, but there's a
debate regarding whether the GPLv3 requires us to do so.

The GPLv3 doesn't make any specific stipulations for whether the
project is a server or not. At least the v2 simply states that if it
is "made available to the public" then the source must be available as
well. To me, "available to the public" includes having it on the
internet for anyone to connect to, and being a server project like
this one, it's not an application that the end user will download
anyway. I realize that the AGPL has specific language for server
projects, but it doesn't apply in this case, since the original
project was just under the normal GPLv3.

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