I ship a GPL-licensed exe "Foo" (not mine) with my exe, and with Foo - some DLLs that it uses.

These DLLs are licensed under various open-source licenses.

Should I ship the copyright statements of those DLLs? And the full texts of their licenses?

  • 3
    Does the license of the GPL'ed Foo.exe contain a linking exception? Normally, when you distribute a GPL program, you obligate yourself to disclose all source code. It doesn't matter where the code comes from, so saying "I didn't write those DLLs" is not an excuse. One exception may exist for "system DLLs", but I suspect that doesn't apply in this case. – Brandin Nov 23 '18 at 13:10

When redistributing GPL-licensed binaries, you must reproduce each copyright notice and disclaimer of warranty and ship the full text of the license (see section 1 of the GPLv2). In addition, you have to (quoting section 3):

a) Accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable source code, which must be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,

b) 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, to be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,

c) Accompany it with the information you received as to the offer to distribute corresponding source code. (This alternative is allowed only for noncommercial distribution and only if you received the program in object code or executable form with such an offer, in accord with Subsection b above.)

Commercial distributions typically choose option b. For the GPLv3, similar terms apply.

Other terms apply for other open-source licenses, but you typically have to ship with all copyright notices and license texts.

  • As you can see the question pertains to binary subcomponents and their various licenses. Here is an example. Sometimes I deploy apps including a binary subcomponent which is licensed as basically this: opensource.org/licenses/BSD-3-Clause As you can see, clause 2 applies, so the license for that component gets included in the deployment bundle. – Richard Barber Nov 25 '18 at 13:30

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