How anyone could not see that "violate a license" means "do things not permitted by that license" is beyond me tonight.
Well for one thing, that's not what anybody means when he says "violate a license." There are an infinite number of things any given license does not permit. The kernel license, for example, does not permit me to walk through Linus' back yard. If I walk through Linus' back yard, am I violating the license?
The phrasing "violate the license" or "permission to violate the license" tends to make newcomers to the issue imagine that an author has more power than he has -- that when you use the author's code, you live by the author's rules and he can write any law he wants into "the license." You can't understand GPL issues unless you fully understand that the only power the author has is to stop people from copying his code, and then only according to some specific leglislation giving him that power.
Even you may have fallen into the trap of confusing conditional permission with a prohibition when you were surprised that GPL doesn't require a distributor to make good on his promise to supply source code. A conditional license to distribute simply doesn't have the power to make someone do something after he has already distributed (copied).
GPL authors obviously expect a judge to say that the offer of source code has to be genuine, which means the offeror intended and expected to make good on it. So if he has no good reason for refusing a request for source code, that's strong evidence he never made a genuine offer, which means he never had permission to copy, which means he has violated copyright.
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