For a new project I want to make use of some GPLv3 javascript plugins which prohibit me from monetizing it with Adsense, and also requires me to share the source of the project that uses it. I only need to use this package on one or two pages of my website and it would only account for about 20% of the website's offering.

My question is this, can I abide to the GPLv3 license only for those pages that load the javascript in question. So say I have a domain example.com and the GPL'd javascript is only loaded on example.com/here and example.com/there

Then I could share the source code for only those two pages and not run any advertisements on those two pages. And on the rest of the website which doesn't load the javascript I would be allowed to do whatever I want (while still respecting licenses of course, but no GPLv3) without being in violation of the GPLv3?

If it makes a difference I could use a different subdomain instead of a different url path

Basically, it's my understanding that the GPLv3 applies to the entire front-end, if used as part of the front-end, but to what extent? It should only apply to whatever other software is loaded in that instance? This could be defined as a specific web page or subdomain? It doesn't automatically apply to an entire website based on branding?

What if it's on a different route, or different subdomain, but there are many shared things.. such as images, css, js. Possibly you need to login with the same account. But on those pages where the GPLv3 plugin is used, everything loaded on THOSE pages has its source available and is not accompanied by anything incompatible with the GPLv3.

Would appreciate some clarification. Thank you

  • 2
    Licenses don't apply to web pages, they apply to particular bits of code. You can have open source and completely proprietary code on the one web page. And a GPL project can't restrict your right to monetise it. Feb 10 '20 at 0:33
  • The intention of the GPL is that users of your application can create an improved version of the application. Feb 10 '20 at 6:41
  • @curiousdannii that's not at all what I've read elsewhere. If my front-end was all bundled up together with Webpack and the GPL code wasn't loaded separately but was intertwined with everything else from a code perspective, then it would oblige me to release the entire source of that code bundle. I want to understand if this is different if the code is not all bundled up together and the GPL code is loaded separately and only on some pages Feb 10 '20 at 11:16
  • @BartvanIngenSchenau I understand that's the intent and I respect that it's a very well-meant intent, the result, however, is that anyone who wishes not to release their entire source code tends to steer away from using GPL bits in their project. I'm trying to understand to what extent I am obliged to open source the code if it uses GPL'd bits. Feb 10 '20 at 11:18
  • 3
    It doesn't matter how it's loaded, what matters is what the other code is doing. Do they interact? Call functions? Extend classes? The GPL definitely doesn't apply to other pages on the site which don't contain the GPL library, but it's not clear yet to what extent it applies to the pages that do. Feb 10 '20 at 11:45

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