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GPL Compliance with 3PDs

Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 11:34 am
by dtyse
Hi,

A friend of mine has purchased and installed third party components on their websites and has offered to pass this onto me for use on my site at no additional cost as he tells me they are now considered GPL. Is this the correct way for me to proceed?

Also, what is the process for reporting developers that are not compliant? One particular component is encrypted and we need to make modifications to it for our site.

Thanks very much!

D

Re: GPL Compliance with 3PDs

Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 12:18 pm
by LorenzoG
Hi and welcome!
dtyse wrote: A friend of mine has purchased and installed third party components on their websites and has offered to pass this onto me for use on my site at no additional cost as he tells me they are now considered GPL. Is this the correct way for me to proceed?
No, your friend is wrong. Because the extension isn't compliant, it doesn't make it GPL. Please, see some common questions:
http://forum.joomla.org/index.php/topic,183327.0.html
I use a commercial or proprietary extension. Does this announcement mean I am free to copy and redistribute that extension?

No. All copyright and rules for the licenses that come with a particular extension still apply. The developers of each extension will have to make decisions about whether to make their licenses  GPL in the future.
dtyse wrote: One particular component is encrypted and we need to make modifications to it for our site.
It depends how much of the code is encrypted. Sometimes the developer leave quite much of the code uncrypted and then some modifications are possible. In other, more rare cases, the whole code in encrypted and then it isn't possible to do any modification. Of course, encryption reduces your ability to do heavier modifications and additions.

Re: GPL Compliance with 3PDs

Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 1:20 pm
by Jenny
Moving to Questions - User related.

Re: GPL Compliance with 3PDs

Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 2:02 pm
by mcsmom
Please see the FAQ. It clearly states that the statement that Joomla! 1.5 will be released under GPL does NOT make it legal to copy proprietary extensions.

For anyone's information, it is fine for even GPL extensions to be encrypted as long as there is an offer to provide a copy of the source code upon request included in the license.

Finally, only the copyright holder whose rights are possibly being violated has standing to file a complaint, and he or she is the ONLY one who could receive any monetary damages. The Free Software Foundation provides the following information about procedures to follow if a violation is suspected.

http://www.fsf.org/licensing/licenses/g ... ation.html

The FSF approach focuses on obtaining compliance, rather than obtaining monetary damages.

Joomla! is working to help developers understand the GPL licence and what it takes to comply with it

Re: GPL Compliance with 3PDs

Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 10:16 pm
by dtyse
Thanks very much for the replies - they are very helpful!

Ok, at the FSF site it says
The copyright holder is the one who is legally authorized to take action to enforce the license.
and it doesn't look like the developer's are going to bring themselves into compliance ever. In fact it looks like they are going to do the opposite. I found this in a discussion on the JCDA forums:
Flood the bazaar with non-GPL compatible free stuff for Joomla! and they're hamstrung.
I will contact the copyright holders to make an official complaint.

Re: GPL Compliance with 3PDs

Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 10:31 pm
by Jenny
I am not sure which copyright holder you are intending to contact.  A 3PD or someone who is a copyright holder of Joomla!?

One thing I would note.  If such actions such as you mentioned:
Flood the bazaar with non-GPL compatible free stuff for Joomla! and they're hamstrung.
were taken by any 3PD I would be cautious in using any of their extensions because if they are willing to deliberately and with malicious intent, attempt to harm the community in this way, they most likely would have no issues with not supporting, or not caring about their free extensions.  It would seem from that quote that it would be less about creating some good code, and more about trying to stick it to someone.  I would worry that the next person they stick it to would be the users of their software. 

Just my opinion.

I would like to see the rest of the post that quote was taken from just to make sure there isn't some context issue I am not taking into consideration, could you supply a link?.

Re: GPL Compliance with 3PDs

Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 10:55 pm
by mcsmom
Honestly, I read it, and it is just another person who doesn't understand the terms of the gpl.

Re: GPL Compliance with 3PDs

Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 10:59 pm
by dtyse
Sure - here is a link to the full discussion:

http://jcd-a.org/component/option,com_s ... een,1/#new

I really only care about building our website. Joomla is the best tool for what we want to do, but we don't want to go down a commercial/proprietary path with a 3PD only to have them switch to GPL later and change their support/pricing models, or pull out altogether. Will cause a big headache for us down the line.

For us it's better if they simply bring their applications into compliance. I am happy to purchase the product, but for our purpose we need the freedom to modify the code as per the GPL.

From my perspective I need to make a formal complaint to the copyright holders. I guess this will be Joomla, most likely Mambo also but also to the relevant 3PDs regarding their product. There are probably a host of others that need to be contacted, but if I start with the main ones and take it from there I think this will 'encourage' the 3PDs to move to GPL.

If their intention is to 'never' come into compliance then we'd like to know this fairly soon so I can make the right choices, and we can get on with building our site.

Re: GPL Compliance with 3PDs

Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 11:16 pm
by Jenny
One thing to consider, is that this is a very large supportive community.  Whether the GPL issue had come up or not, there are always developers that come and go, both commercial and not commercial.

I wouldn't worry that your needs won't be met.  Just as in the past, there are always new developers joining in and making contributions.  You also always have the option of hiring a developer to develop something specifically.  Something else I was thinking about is that if you have some extension that in the future is dropped by the developer, you can release the code (if it is GPL) to another developer to continue on development.