[Haskell-cafe] GPL answers from the SFLC (WAS: Re: ANN: hakyll-0.1)

David Leimbach leimy2k at gmail.com
Fri Mar 5 10:57:11 EST 2010

On Fri, Mar 5, 2010 at 4:16 AM, Malcolm Wallace <
malcolm.wallace at cs.york.ac.uk> wrote:

> > The GPL specifically (and only) applies when code is "distributed" to
>> others outside the originating authors' organisation.
>> I'm pretty sure it says nothing about organizations.
> http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-faq.html#InternalDistribution
This is not the GPL license, this is an FAQ written by someone at the FSF
presumably about how they interpret the license.  Since anyone can
technically interpret this license in any way, and argue before a judge with
their belief about their rights, I don't feel any better about this text.

I think key to this is whether or not individuals within an organization own
their own work or not.  Sometimes people do retain ownership, though it's
very very rare.  In that case my handing software to someone I'm cooperating
with could still claim their rights are being infringed under the GPL if I
don't provide source code.

> Is making and using multiple copies within one organization or company
> “distribution”?
> No, in that case the organization is just making the copies for itself. As
> a consequence, a company or other organization can develop a modified
> version and install that version through its own facilities, without giving
> the staff permission to release that modified version to outsiders.
> However, when the organization transfers copies to other organizations or
> individuals, that is distribution. In particular, providing copies to
> contractors for use off-site is distribution.
> Regards,
>    Malcolm_______________________________________________
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