11

The license for Geogebra says:

  • You are free to copy, distribute and transmit GeoGebra for non-commercial purposes. Non-commercial use is subject to the terms of our GeoGebra Non-Commercial License Agreement.
  • Any use of GeoGebra for a commercial purpose is subject to and requires a special license. If you intend to use GeoGebra for a commercial purpose, please contact office@geogebra.org to arrange a License and Collaboration Agreement with us.

[...]

Non-commercial License Terms

[...]

  1. The GeoGebra source code is licensed to you under the terms of the GNU General Public License (version 3 or later) as published by the Free Software Foundation, the current text of which can be found via this link: http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html("GPL"). Attribution (as required by the GPL) should take the form of (at least) a mention of our name, an appropriate copyright notice and a link to our website located at https://www.geogebra.org.

Aren't these "GPL for non-commercial use only" terms essentially void? If the give me, a non-commercial Geogebra user, a version of their software under GPL3, then I can re-release it under GPL3 to the rest of the world without all other restrictions, making it available under GPL3 for commercial uses as well.

5

I think the "How is GeoGebra licensed?" and other sections of their license page clarify this. The Geogebra source code is all that is licensed under GPLv3. Geogebra, as copyright holders of the source code, are free to also offer the source code or some derivative of it under different licensing terms, including as a binary distribution (installer) with non-commercial license. (This installer also includes non-source code portions of Geogebra, e.g. documentation and translations, which are only available under non-commercial licensing.) Geogebra is not attempting to provide a binary distribution that is simultaneously licensed under GPL with additional non-commercial stipulations, which the GPL does not permit.

There are likely other examples of projects with this licensing model; the closest one I can immediately think of is Synergy Core, which offers a non-GPL binary distribution from GPL source code. Numerous projects use some sort of multi-licensing model, where the source code is freely available (e.g. under GPL), but, for example, the official binary distribution is licensed more restrictively, or a license can be purchased for incorporating the project into a closed-source product.

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-3

This won't work in the United States. In the United States, if you own a lawfully-made copy of a work and haven't agreed to any particular restrictions on it, you are permitted by law to do anything that isn't reserved to the copyright holder. What is reserved to the copyright holder is specified by 17 USC 106, and ordinary use of the work is not on that list.

If you buy a book, or find a book, or otherwise come to lawfully possess a book, you can read that book. It doesn't matter if the book has a license page that says you agree to only read the book on Sundays, because you don't have to agree to a license unless you want to.

Or worse, imagine if somebody drops copies of their poem from an airplane and on the back of each poem is printed a "license" that claims you agree to certain restrictions on what you can do with the poem if you read it. That's not enforceable because nobody needs to agree to the license to read the poem. They can read the poem because they own the paper it's on. Ordinary use is not a right restricted by copyright and nobody can make you agree to something to let you do something that you already have the right to do.

By right of possession, you may do anything the law doesn't restrict to the copyright holder, and that is not ordinary use in the United States.

You don't need a license to read a book you own. You don't need a license to use a piece of software you own.

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  • The question is not about simply using a piece of software but about redistributing it, something that a license on the back of a poem dropped from an airplane very well could regulate. – jwodder Jul 23 at 4:07
  • @jwodder The questions says, "Non-commercial use is subject to the terms of our GeoGebra Non-Commercial License Agreement. Any use of GeoGebra for a commercial purpose is subject to and requires a special license. If you intend to use GeoGebra for a commercial purpose, please contact office@geogebra.org to arrange a License and Collaboration Agreement with us.". It's about a license that restricts non-commercial use, which a license cannot do in the United States. – David Schwartz Jul 23 at 4:21
  • What (if any) precedent exists where a US court determined commercial usage restrictions of EULAs to be unenforceable? – chrstphrchvz Jul 30 at 8:03
  • @chrstphrchvz We aren't talking about EULA's here. An EULA is a contract that you must agree to in order to use the software that is binding on all those, and only those, that explicitly agreed to the EULA, see ProCD, Inc. v. Zeidenberg. The burden is on the person who seeks to enforce the EULA to prove agreement to the EULA using something like a click-through or shrink-wrap agreement. It has no relevance to licenses like the GPL which don't have such things (or, if they do, anyone can remove them since the GPL allows it). – David Schwartz Jul 30 at 17:39

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