1) For example, if I upload a GPL binary to google drive and then provide a link for everyone. Does it mean that GOOGLE should now provide the sources for the binary if anyone requests them?

2) What happens on a scanning service of files, whereby, I requested it to downloads a file, scan it and then allows me to download it after scanning? Because they downloaded the file, scanned it, and gave it to me. Are they now liable to provide the sources of the GPL Binary?

3) What happens if I receive an email to my gmail, the email contains a GPL Binary in an attachment. I download the file. Can I now request the sources from GOOGLE?

  • 3
    The answer to the first is surely no, no more than the postal service would be required to provide the source code if you posted someone compiled software. Common sense says that you are the distributor. Apr 4 '17 at 11:59
  • What about me uploading a binary without sources anonymously to a file service. The file service, by this reasoning is not liable but still distribute the files to whomever wants it without the sources. There is no one to request the sources from.
    – Tzahi
    Apr 5 '17 at 5:41
  1. ... I upload a GPL binary to google drive and then provide a link for everyone ...

You are the distributor here, Not Google. Also Google's Terms and conditions mentions scenarios like this, and here's an excerpt.

We do not claim ownership in any of your content, including any text, data, information, and files that you upload, share, or store in your Drive account.

So, YOU are the distributor.

  1. ... scanning service of files, whereby, I requested it to download ...

Still you are the distributor. Even they might have additional terms and conditions.

  1. ... receive an email to my gmail, the email contains a GPL ...

Read the answer for first one.

  • I don't think it is that easy. For example, sometimes scanning services remove files from a ZIP and leave the other files intact. Essentially modifying the work. Alternatively they convert files from one format to another and then allow others to download it. Theoretically, i can make an automatic service to make a linux binary run on windows. I added features automatically without providing the sources. Other services may modify the binary, ever so slightly or a complete overhaul.
    – Tzahi
    Apr 5 '17 at 5:40
  • @Tzahi When using these services, you generally have to agree to the ToS, which will contain provision to make sure that you gave them a license to do what they are doing. If they are doing something which is illegal because of your action, even if you're anonymous, you're the one who is liable.
    – Zimm i48
    Apr 6 '17 at 13:07

It would depend on what the law says if the software was proprietary.

If it says they are not liable, then they are not liable in this case. If it says that they are liable, then it is a bit more complex in this case:

Google will have the option to accept the licence or not. If they do not accept the licence, then it is the same as in the proprietary case. If they do accept it, then you need to read the licence, and see if they are in breach of contract.

(In the proprietary case, they can also choose to accept the licence. However this is not, often, the best cause of action.)

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