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Re: Privately relicensing GPL’d software

From: Hyman Rosen
Subject: Re: Privately relicensing GPL’d software
Date: Tue, 02 Sep 2008 13:28:04 -0400
User-agent: Thunderbird (Windows/20080708)

Fred Phillips wrote:
Boxee[1] is a piece of software based on XBMC[2] which is realeased
under the GPL.


The only way to receive the source for Boxee is to take
part in a private alpha test which is by invite only.

Still OK.

The code they distribute to these selected people is not under the GPL.

Not OK.

They claim to be able to do this as it is not “public distribution”.

They're wrong.

I would have assumed that they are not obliged to release their code
> publicly if they are not distributing it publicly

Depending upon which provision of the GPL they use, they may choose to
distribute source only to those to whom they are distributing binaries.
But however they choose to do it, if anyone who receives a binary cannot
receive source from them, they are in violation of the GPL. They may ask
but not require their testers not to redistribute the code, however.

but they would need to release it under the GPL to those within their
> organisation who it is distributed to.

What do you mean, "within their organisation"? Distributing within an
entity such as a corporation imposes no GPL requirements.

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