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Redistribution of Work Under GPL Legal?


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#1 Drakken255   Members   -  Reputation: 173

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 04:18 AM

Hello all,

I have a program that I want to be able to distribute the binary of another program which is currently covered under the GPL License. My program does not in any way derive from the other program. My program will also be distributing directly from the owner's website. I have also attempted to contact the work's owner to ask/notify him of this, which seems to have been ignored. So, at the moment I plan to do so without permission.
For lack of a solid definite answer, I must ask if this is legal. If so, what, if any, conditions must I abide by to allow for this?

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#2 Bregma   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4857

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 05:28 AM

If you're distributing a work that has a GPL distribution license, you must comply with the conditions of the GPL distribution license (obvious answer is obvious).

If all you're doing is linking to another distributor's website, you're not the distributor, the distributor is (obvious answer is obvious).

You do not have to contact the author of a GPLed work in order to redistribute it (although that is a common courtesy). You do have to make the sources of that work available.

If in doubt about your particular situation, write the free software foundation with a detailed request for clarification. That's what they're there for.

Edited by Bregma, 12 September 2012 - 05:29 AM.

Stephen M. Webb
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#3 Drakken255   Members   -  Reputation: 173

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 06:40 AM

Thank you for your answer. I did know of the first statement; however, my situation is a tiny bit different. My program will distribute by downloading the work from the site directly from within the program. Code example:

WebClient client = new WebClient();

client.DownloadFile(/*<Onwer's site>*/, /*<User defined destination>*/);

I may be wrong, but that is what I call redistributing.

Edited by Drakken255, 12 September 2012 - 06:42 AM.


#4 SimonForsman   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 5991

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 09:06 AM

Thank you for your answer. I did know of the first statement; however, my situation is a tiny bit different. My program will distribute by downloading the work from the site directly from within the program. Code example:

WebClient client = new WebClient();

client.DownloadFile(/*<Onwer's site>*/, /*<User defined destination>*/);

I may be wrong, but that is what I call redistributing.


Just download the sourcecode to that application aswell and you should be fine. (You shouldn't have to release your own code in this case, (i know atleast gog.com bundles the GPL licensed DOSBox with alot of the games they sell and they only provide the DOSBox sourcecode).

I'd recommend downloading the application and its sourcecode from your own webserver instead though as your current method will cost the other site money without giving them any ad revenue and if they decide to shut down, change their urls or block your application your application will break. (This way you can also simply give the user a link to the sourcecode and be certain that the code you're providing matches up with the binary (which it has to do according to the GPL)
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#5 samoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4660

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 10:24 AM

Just download the sourcecode to that application aswell and you should be fine.

Not even this should be necessary (though it does not hurt to offer it as an option).

Your only obligations for distributing a verbatim copy (i.e. not one that you built and/or modified yourself) are that you:

conspicuously and appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate copyright notice; keep intact all notices stating that this License and any non-permissive terms added in accord with section 7 apply to the code; keep intact all notices of the absence of any warranty; and give all recipients a copy of this License along with the Program



#6 Drakken255   Members   -  Reputation: 173

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 11:58 AM

Thank you for the answers.

I'd recommend downloading the application and its sourcecode from your own webserver instead though as your current method will cost the other site money without giving them any ad revenue and if they decide to shut down, change their urls or block your application your application will break.

I'll try to go by this as much as possible, but with the eventual amount of features of my program, I might not be able to host the entirety of its database at its current location. At that point, though, I might as well have a dedicated private server running for it. but for now, I sense no danger in URL changes or server outages. If it does go down, not only will I find out very soon, a massive amount of Minecraft's player base will find themselves without a use for this feature anyway.

#7 Sik_the_hedgehog   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1549

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Posted 15 September 2012 - 08:13 AM

Kind of late here, but: just provide a button that opens the browser where the download link in the site is? Seems like the safest option if you don't want to host said program in your own site. Yeah, URL may change, but it'd also happen if you put it in the documentation or something =P
Don't pay much attention to "the hedgehog" in my nick, it's just because "Sik" was already taken =/ By the way, Sik is pronounced like seek, not like sick.




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