[Fsfe-ie] The Sunday Business Post and the Live CD

Glenn Strong Glenn.Strong at cs.tcd.ie
Mon Apr 26 13:26:00 CEST 2004

On Monday, April 26, 2004 at 11:41 +0100, Ben North wrote:
> Who would count as "distributing" the software from the point of view of
> complying with the licences?

Very important point.

There's little leeway in the GPL for this -  which makes it easy to
discuss; there are only a couple of ways to handle this!

>   In particular, for the source code availability requirement of the
> GPL, would it be the newspaper?

Yes, I think it would be the newspaper (or the publisher of the
newspaper, maybe more accurately?)

>  Would this count as "non-commercial" distribution, thereby allowing
> the newspaper to elect to comply with 3(c) of the GPL?

I couldn't give you the legal chapter and verse, but in amateur view:
absolutely not. They are not including this CD out of altruism, it's a
form of advertising for their newspaper.

I believe the standard thing done by magazines that include
GPL-licensed software on covermounts is that they make the written
offer and fulfil it through their usual mail-order/back issue
process. Since the GPL permits them to charge the copying cost this
may be acceptable.

> Maybe they would prefer to adopt the "written offer" route, in which
> case IFSO should probably supply the source to them, and then it's the
> newspaper's responsibility to make sure nobody throws them away for
> three years.

I think this would probably suit everyone. I wonder how many people
take publishers up on the offer (I would guess hardly any - those who
are really interested probably get online and get the source that way,
which is usually more convenient than talking to the distributor).

If we had evidence that the offer is rarely taken up then the Business
Post may be more inclined to go along with it. P.S. anybody know if an
offer made on the distribution media (i.e. a file in /usr/doc...)
counts as a written offer?
The alternative appears to be a CD with 300Mb or so free software and
the rest sources. 

> Would they even print the GPL in full with a bit of
> background/explanation?  Or is it going to be more presented as a
> "try this alternative way of playing with your computer"?

Printing the GPL with discussion would be fantastic, but I suspect it
will be the former.
> Apologies for missing the last meeting; I was rather ill.

Hope you're feeling better.

Glenn Strong

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