Google, why not
Posted May 25, 2007 14:38 UTC (Fri) by man_ls
In reply to: Google, why not
Parent article: A day at the Open Source Business Conference
Actually, I think this is inherent in the GPL. Since the corporation is providing copies only to itself, it only has obligations with respect to itself. That is, it has to provide itself the source, if asked, and grant itself any patent license it already holds. Both of those are, obviously empty implications.
I don't think so. A corporation that distributes or modifies software has obligations not to downstream receivers but to the owner of the copyright
. This owner might set whatever requirements it saw fit, as for example "distribute source code upon request to any users, local or remote, of the software". In the case of the GPL the owner sees fit to set requirements for modifications only to outside distribution, but this is only in the FAQ and not in the license itself. (I didn't know this, by the way.)
So your rights for "internal distribution" are not as clear-cut as those in the GPL itself. In fact, the FSF might change the FAQ tomorrow if they see it fit and restate this paragraph, which would open a lot of entities to being sued. Basically, anyone who modifies and distributes a GPL program. Funny, isn't it?
I think the GPL FAQ you cite is probably wrong in its last paragraph (it says that providing copies to contractors for use off-site is distribution).
Imagine that you have a corporate license for a Microsoft program, and you want to distribute it to off-site contractors. Would you think it is wrong for the license to state that you cannot do it? Hardly, even if the company has strict rules and auditing and whatnot. Copyright law doesn't entitle you to internal nor external distribution, so your only way to do it is the license, in this case the GPL and the FAQ. Now that I think about it, I wouldn't even rely on the FAQ, but I guess you might argue you have "acquired rights". IANAL either.
to post comments)