The Arkansas Division of Land Surveys shares all of their documents as pdfs with password protection, and they have a little viewer app that has the password built in:


The viewer is based on Sumatra PDF, a GPL v3 open source pdf viewer. Does the Division of Land Surveys also have to share the source code that they modified to create their viewer?

  • 1
    I notice the page says "Open Source of this project is coming soon. Check back for details." - Of course that doesn't make it OK not to distribute the sources now. They should not distribute it at all until they are ready to comply with the license.
    – Brandin
    Mar 19 '19 at 13:36
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    Another possible violation: the software says it is GPLed but does not actually include the GPL license text or a reference to the license text anywhere.
    – Brandin
    Mar 19 '19 at 13:43

As the plat viewer is based upon a GPL licensed project, clause 6 of the GPL license requires that the source code must be made available:

  1. Conveying Non-Source Forms.

You may convey a covered work in object code form under the terms of sections 4 and 5, provided that you also convey the machine-readable Corresponding Source under the terms of this License, in one of these ways:


d) Convey the object code by offering access from a designated place (gratis or for a charge), and offer equivalent access to the Corresponding Source in the same way through the same place at no further charge. You need not require recipients to copy the Corresponding Source along with the object code. If the place to copy the object code is a network server, the Corresponding Source may be on a different server (operated by you or a third party) that supports equivalent copying facilities, provided you maintain clear directions next to the object code saying where to find the Corresponding Source. Regardless of what server hosts the Corresponding Source, you remain obligated to ensure that it is available for as long as needed to satisfy these requirements.

e) Convey the object code using peer-to-peer transmission, provided you inform other peers where the object code and Corresponding Source of the work are being offered to the general public at no charge under subsection 6d.

In short, if the program can be downloaded over the internet, the same must be provided for the source code.

As long as the source code is not available, the plat viewer is in violation of the GPL license. The only people/organizations that can take legal action on this are the copyright holders of SumatraPDF that is used as basis for the plat viewer.

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