-7

We have read lot of questions about General Public License v2 and know that it's like a virus and everything that does touch it get open-source:

  • we just use/need a single component/library in our project which is under GPL v2
  • our client which we developed the app for needs our project closed source
  • we asked but not even linking exception was granted to us
  • so we have decided and started to search for license leaks in GPL

we found some leaks in GPL listed below:

  • making GPL source available does not mean download, in fact, we are able to:
    • wait until we get a written request for the source
    • and we are allowed to charge a "reasonable" handling/copying charge before sending of DVD with source
  • we can charge a fee for any warranty from our side as well
  • Tivoization
  • (we are not sure about this one) The GPL does not contain any passage stating that license fees cannot be asked for. The GPL faq list states explicitly that one can ask for license fees for software under the GPL.

Result

based on the leak list the only thing that we think may work in point of skipping GPLv2 is Tivoization

but my question is:

if we charge a fee for any warranty which we provide (e.g. we will ask for a huge amount that no one will ever pay) then

  • can someone skip our warranty and ask for the source only?
  • I mean there was nothing mentioned about this aspect or did we miss something?

closed as unclear what you're asking by curiousdannii, MadHatter, Bart van Ingen Schenau, Mureinik, Michael Schumacher Jun 4 '18 at 9:01

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  • Do you mean "we are selling our GPLv2-licensed software with an expensive warranty, what rights does the purchaser (and others) have with respect to source availability"? – MadHatter May 23 '18 at 10:15
  • "the only thing that was there for us in point of skipping it..." - This part is not clear. What do you mean by 'skipping' the GPL? Do you own the copyrights to the software in its entirety? Then you could dual license it is you want, once as GPLv2 (or something else) and again under some other license which may include a warranty and a fee. – Brandin May 23 '18 at 14:46
  • @Brandin have updated – Top-Master May 24 '18 at 4:08
  • 1
    "can someone skip our warranty and ask for the source only" - Yes. Read: GPLv2 3b: If you do not offer the source for download, then you must: "Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three years, to give any third party, for a charge no more than your cost of physically performing source distribution, a complete machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code". – Brandin May 24 '18 at 4:44
  • 1
    "our client which we developed the app for needs our project closed source" - If your software must be closed source, then it means you cannot include any GPL components in your software. Including a GPL component means you must open source your software. Some GPL libraries have exceptions, though, so if you use those it may be OK. LGPL includes such an exception, and some programs like GCC and FLTK are GPL licensed but have specific exceptions added that say you are allowed to "link" to their software without making your own software open source as well. – Brandin May 24 '18 at 4:50
0

Enforcement of GPL is no longer a rare event. Trying to find a loophole in the licensing is literally betting the livelihood of your company on that alleged loophole. Different groups attack companies that do not comply.

The traditional legal action would be from non-profits.

These not-for-profit groups encouraged everyone to “play by the rules” and occasionally took action, including appropriate legal action, against those who didn’t.

That said, I’m thrilled to see basically individual bounty hunters taking part in legal actions.

These actions are undertaken by a copyright holder against an alleged infringer, fueled by the pursuit of significant monetary claims.

Best of all your competitors may now go after your company for violations.

CoKinetic is not a copyright holder in this matter and hence not claiming that Panasonic’s alleged failure to adhere to the GPL is resulting in some copyright claim that CoKinetic may have against Panasonic. Rather, CoKinetic is claiming that Panasonic, by failing to play by the rules that everyone else is adhering to, is engaging in anti-competitive behavior and that this conduct has directly injured CoKinetic’s business and that, more generally, as a member of the public CoKinetic is an intended third party beneficiary of the GPL

I can see a fourth risk being ex-internal staff. By taking this action you put a bounty on your company that any fired employee can pursue.

If you decide to take this path of violating the GPL, I have high hopes that you will be caught.

-4

can someone skip our warranty and ask for the source only

Yes. Read: GPLv2 >> 3 >> b: If you do not offer the source for download, then you must:

Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three years, to give any third party, for a charge no more than your cost of physically performing source distribution, a complete machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code

thanks for the answer in the comments have just extracted it above to help others...

this means if we use this aspect of GPLv2:

  • we can release one version
  • then we just need to hope no one does ask us in the next three years about the source for that release

but still:

  • if we can make a fake and bullet-proof document
  • that proves we released it before three years then ...
  • but the best thing that will happen this way is that people will call you out for non-compliance (and draw attention to it) and the worst thing is that you will be sued into bankruptcy since we are not ever able to make it 100% bullet-proof, we are not the mafia after all ;-)
  • If you are willing to make fake documents why bother complying with licenses anyway? If you violate licenses the authors of the code you use have the right to sue you for copyright inringement. If you want to risk that you are free to do so but the best thing that will happen is that people will call you out for non-compliance (and draw attention to it) and the worst thing is that you will be sued into bankruptcy. – Brandin May 24 '18 at 6:10
  • like mentioned this is just the way, but we are not able to take it – Top-Master May 24 '18 at 6:14
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    You should not advocate violating licenses and getting away with it, especially not open source licenses. If you can't comply with the GPL license or don't want to, you should not use it. There is almost certainly a non-GPL open source alternative that will give you the same feature, or you can hire programmers to make it for you. What you are suggesting is completely the wrong approach. – Brandin May 24 '18 at 6:22
  • you are right at the end – Top-Master May 24 '18 at 6:34

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