Say there is a multiplayer game (or radio station, BitTorrent tracker, etc) that would (at least threaten to) ban users if they are using a modified client. And the official client is released using GPL. Does it work?

Intuitively it isn't that free as the GPL intended. But some problems are:

  • The software could be released by a 3rd party, who doesn't seem to be able to forbid the service from using it as the official client.
  • It doesn't disallow you from running the software. It just disallows you from connecting to the service.

Yet in the game case, the software might have no useful functionalities if it couldn't connect to the service.

  • Can you provide actual details on which game and GPL client you are talking about? Commented May 25, 2016 at 8:17
  • @PhilippeOmbredanne It's a hypothetical question. I don't think this is really feasible because the server couldn't have a way to detect the changes.
    – user23013
    Commented May 25, 2016 at 8:22

1 Answer 1


If you control the remote service you could do whatever you want to restrict certain types of access. This has nothing to do with the GPL.

You could not restrict what the recipients of the GPL-licensed client do with it, including trying to circumvent your blocks.

But in doing so, they may breach your terms of service or other laws.

This is all a very hypothetical of course as is your question

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