4

There are many countries on the world, where distributing products means to accept an obligatory warranty well.

More clearly: if you buy a mainboard, and it is bad, the seller must re-take it (with payback) on certain (broadly formulated) circumstances. For example, they can't sell cheaper mainboard without warranty, it is forbidden by law.

But GPL (as I know, both of 2 and 3) closes out any warranty.

Does it mean, that GPL software can't be distributed in these countries?

  • 1
    An alternative to the warranty in these countries is to refund the full purchase price. If you give someone a free mainboard, and something goes wrong, then there's no warranty required - you can just give a $0 refund. – Abhi Beckert Sep 8 '15 at 0:21
  • @AbhiBeckert It is country - dependent, I think if you buy his old mainboard from your friend for cash, it is probably exempt practically everywhere. – peterh says reinstate Monica Sep 8 '15 at 0:24
  • Sure, you need to check local legislation, but I'm sure (without actually checking) that a full refund is always an option in every country where warranties are required. I you buy a pen for $2, and it's faulty, they're not going to ship your pen off to be repaired and they are not required to have replacement pens available. You just get a refund and buy a different pen. – Abhi Beckert Sep 8 '15 at 0:31
11

The GPL permits warranties:

  1. BECAUSE THE PROGRAM IS LICENSED FREE OF CHARGE, THERE IS NO WARRANTY FOR THE PROGRAM, TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW. EXCEPT WHEN OTHERWISE STATED IN WRITING THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS AND/OR OTHER PARTIES

So:

  1. if the law requires a warranty, there's a warranty.
  2. if someone states otherwise for whatever reason, there's a warranty.

Also note:

You may charge a fee for the physical act of transferring a copy, and you may at your option offer warranty protection in exchange for a fee.

And even:

c) If the modified program normally reads commands interactively when run, you must cause it, when started running for such interactive use in the most ordinary way, to print or display an announcement including an appropriate copyright notice and a notice that there is no warranty (or else, saying that you provide a warranty) and that users may redistribute the program under these conditions, and telling the user how to view a copy of this License. (Exception: if the Program itself is interactive but does not normally print such an announcement, your work based on the Program is not required to print an announcement.)

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