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[OT?] Charging for source [was: Re: lynx-dev Lynxon Win32 - wireless ver

From: brian j pardy
Subject: [OT?] Charging for source [was: Re: lynx-dev Lynxon Win32 - wireless version]
Date: Sat, 18 Dec 1999 13:43:18 -0500

On Sat, Dec 18, 1999, Klaus Weide wrote:
> > > Lynx is GPL'd:
> On Fri, 17 Dec 1999, David Woolley wrote:
> > 
> > He can also charge for the source, based on the cost of making and
> > sending the copy, but not based on the value of the source itself.
> In which sense do you mean "He can"?
> 1) he is allowed to
> 2) something else (e.g.: would likely get away with; or: would make a
>    reasonable business decision if he did...)
> If 1), I don't think there is anything to forbid charging for the source
> "based on the value of the source itself".  Whatever that [value of the
> source itself] means.  If you disagree, please show where it's written.

3b) of the GPL:

  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:


    b) Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three
    years, to give any third party, for a charge no more than your
    cost of physically performing source distribution, a complete
    machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code, to be
    distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium
    customarily used for software interchange; or,

IANAL.  As far as I've ever understood it -- from the following

  When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not
  price.  Our General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that
  you have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and
  charge for this service if you wish), that you receive source code
  or can get it if you want it, that you can change the software or
  use pieces of it in new free programs; and that you know you can do
  these things.

I think that says you can sell copies of free software (not sure if
he's deliberately being vague on source/binary, but let's call it
both) if you want, and at any charge.  *But*, in conjunction with 3b
above, if you're selling the binary, you can't charge an additional
amount for the source, other than a nominal fee for the physical
transference.  That's how I've always parsed it internally.

Very few things happen at the right time, and the rest do not happen
at all.  The conscientious historian will correct these defects.
                -- Herodotus

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