[opensource-dev] Can you legally agree to incomprehensible conditions

Jesse Barnett jessesa at gmail.com
Sat Apr 3 07:12:02 PDT 2010


On Sat, Apr 3, 2010 at 8:30 AM, Carlo Wood <carlo at alinoe.com> wrote:

> Ok, IANAL as well, but here's what I understood (somewhere in the past):
>
> LL is a single legal entity, "distributing" sources internally is
> not considered to be distribution and using binaries on multiple
> PC's within the company is also not considered distribution (it
> doesn't change owner).
>
> Therefore, they can link GPL-ed code with non-GPL-ed code (ie the server).
> The result would not be something that they can legally distribute, but
> that is not being done when they keep it strictly internal.
>
> If however they would sell (or even give) the server binary to another
> company, that is something entirely different. In that case they may
> not link with any GPL code, not even GPL shared libraries unless that
> binary is GPL-ed, meaning that the receiving company also needs to get
> source code, fully GPL-ed, which gives that company the right to
> distribute it on the internet as well. If LL wouldd sell that binary and
> give the source code but created an NDA for it; then they'd break
> the law and could be sued by the copyright holder of the GPL-ed part
> of their server (mostly like the FSF).
>
>
Not sure if that assessment is entirely correct. Rob Linden's greatest
strength (besides his extraordinary patience) was the ability to explain
things in a way so that anyone could understand. He did an excellent blog
post last month about dual licensing and contribution agreements that should
be required reading for everyone:

http://blog.robla.net/2010/thoughts-on-dual-licensing-and-contrib-agreements/

Jesse Barnett
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