License Question

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I know, this might be the wrong place for such a question, but maybe
you can redirect me to the right place to post.

I wrote a small software under the GNU General Public License and put
it on for download. Now, someone likes this software and
wants it to integrate into his own software as a module. This software
is for sale. Is there a meaningfull solution about this issue? I just
would like to give a "common" answer instead of a exotic one.

thanks to all, Stefan

Re: License Question

Under the GNU GPL, he need only acknowledge your contribution, unless
you have otherwise attached some cost to it.

On 1 Dec 2004 03:56:08 -0800, (gooze) wrote:

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-- Ambrose Bierce

Re: License Question

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I'm probably way off here, but I was under the impression that
derivatives of GPL licenced code has also to be Open Source. Is that
the case?


Re: License Question


I think a work derived from a GNU/GPL licensed work must be under the same
Quoted from the GNU GPL license v.2 (section 3, paragraph a):

 3. You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on it,
under Section 2) in object code or executable form under the terms of
Sections 1 and 2 above provided that you also do one of the following:

    a) Accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable
    source code, which must be distributed under the terms of Sections
    1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange;

Read there :
M. Rambil
Mohamed Rambil
Service technique @GP
tÚl. : 04 75 60 58 81
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Re: License Question

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Um no, if he wants to integrate your GPL code into his he needs to
publish his app under the GPL. Now if you wrote your code you can
choose to licence it to him seperatly if you would like. In that case
you and he will ahve to come to some sort of agreement on terms, and
then you are all set. Duel licencing is common in some places.


Re: License Question (gooze) wrote in message
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  IANAL, but AFAIK, you can sell any GPL'ed software. The person who
purchases has the rights to use/modify/sell it--but not to change the
license--which means hiding the source code. So, hardly people will
buy GPL'ed software for commercial uses.

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Email: rrjanbiah-at-Y!com    Blog: /

Re: License Question

gooze wrote:

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Well, couldn't you just re-lisence it to this person under a comercial


Re: License Question

gooze wrote:
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"Software is for sale" means nothing in this context.[1] If his
software is licensed under GPL (or similar), there is no problem. In
that case he can use your code. On the other hand, if his code is not
under such license, he can not use your code unless you grant another
sort of license for him. However, I'm not entirely certain if this can
be done when your software is already under GPL (in other words, I
don't know if it's possible to license it under some license that's
not compatible with GPL).

[1] Since one *can* charge for GPL'ed software. This possibility is of
course mainly fictional due to the nature of open source code, but
still - it's not impossible to sell GPL'ed software; there are plenty
of examples :)

Markku Uttula

Re: License Question

Markku Uttula wrote:

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The issue is whether it constitutes a derived work. The LGPL was created to
allow the 'FOSS' part to be licenced seperately from the commericial part
of an application (since GPL does not allow for this). At the end of the
day it's probably cheaper for the publisher to purchase a licence (or the
rights to your software) from you than to get a lawyer to establish that it
is not a derivative work or pay a programmer to reverse engineer the code
and reimplement it.



Re: License Question

Hi Stefan,

I'm not sure if you feel your question has been answered, but here is the
long and the short of things: if someone wants to integrate your project
into their commercial product, then you need to offer it to them under the
terms of a commercial license.

So, here's what you do: you go to them and say "I'll sell this to you for
{your price}".

They can't just use your product under the GPL, unless they also release
their product under the GPL.  If it's a commercial product, they probably
don't want to do this, because it means that they can't prevent people from
redistributing it for free (i.e., what would normally be called pirating the

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Re: License Question

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It's your software and copyright, if you have not used anybody else's code
you just need to strip the GPL licence from it and issue the software to him
under a protected copyright licence.

Re: License Question

gooze wrote:
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Hi Stefan,

The GNU Public License does not forbid the one who owns the copyrights
to the software to give of sell other licenses to whoever he wants. I
know several examples of software that is licensed under several
different licenses, including GPL.

Be aware that this is only the case if you really own all of the
copyrights on the software. If you only obtained a license on (parts of)
it, you are bound to the rules of that license as a licensee.

So, if you wrote the software and if it is not owned by your boss, and
you did not sell or otherwise transfer your rights, you can still
license others to use or sublicense you software.

Consider to:
1. not license him to do more then he asks for. So if he wants to give
others a license to use your software as a module of his own software,
put a clear description of his software into the license agreement as
well as of for what the software is allowed to be used. If possible also
include a description of to who he may give or sell those licenses. This
is not only in your commercial interest, it also decreases your risk for
legal claims. (i am afraid that 'exotic answers' are, in this respect,
better then common answers)
2. put a valid disclaimer into the license agreement. Be aware that the
kind of disclaimers that are in licenses like the GPL may not be valid
in your country or in the particular case. For example in Holland there
is something like 'consumers rights' that can not be taken away by a
3. put a clause in the license agreement under which countries' law the
license agreement resides, so that the meaning of 'your country' in
point 2 is clear.
4. In some countries it may not be good enough to just send him
a license. Consider asking him to sign a license agreement
and send it back to you.

Maybe you can learn about all this by reading general conditions and/or
license agreements of software companies in your country.

If you find this an exotic answer, LGPL is meant to license people to
use open source software as part of other, not-GPLled software. But it
is a pritty complicated license. For example, the BSD license is much
simpeler and allows it too (and more). See


Henk Verhoeven,

In no event shall the sender of this message be liable to any person for
any direct, indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages of
any character arising as a result of reading this message or basing acts
upon its contents. Anyone who wants to or does license and/or or
distribute software is advised to seek sound legal advice from an expert
in the applicable law. Reading this message and/or license agreements
can not replace that advice.

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