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Re: Using proprietary graphics in a free program

From: Tord Romstad
Subject: Re: Using proprietary graphics in a free program
Date: Thu, 26 Feb 2009 22:04:09 +0100

Hello Richard,

Thanks for your reply!

In article <address@hidden>,
Tord Romstad  <address@hidden> wrote:

> >The problem is that he plans to hire a professional graphics designer
> >to draw the piece images and some other graphics, and to keep these
> >graphical image files proprietary.  He asks me whether the GPL allows
> >this, and I honestly don't know myself.  Does anyone here know more
> >about this?
> I suppose the question is whether the image files count as part of the
> source code of the program.  If they are loaded at run-time, I would
> guess that the answer is no, especially if you can configure the
> program to load different ones.

It's a strange border case, and it is hard to define exactly what the
program is.  I am not sure you are familiar with how applications in
Mac OS X and the iPhone OS work, but what appears like an application
to a user is actually a directory containing the executable file and
various resources. In the case of the iPhone application I am talking
about, the proprietary images will have to be part of the application
bundle, but they will not be contained in the executable file itself.

I suppose I should at least require that the source code builds
correctly and gives a fully usable application (albeit perhaps with
slightly less nice-looking graphics) without the proprieatary images.

> But since you are the author, you can license it on any terms you
> like.  Do you want him to be able to do this?  If so, you can add a
> clause to your licence explicitly allowing it, regardless of whether
> the vanilla GPL does.

No, I don't want to modify my license.  I definitely want programs
derived from mine to use the GPL.


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