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Old 01-11-2003, 11:17 AM   #1
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A company I know of is violating the GPL - what should I do?

An ex-employer of mine took and 'customized' it to dress it up as if it's their own. That's OK, but when I told them that they had to make the source available too, and include the GPL license as a text file, they went funny on me and then (apologetically) sacked us (the programmers of their system).

I don't hold a grudge against them for sacking the tecchies (although I think it was a rash decision), but it bugs me that they're not releasing properly under the terms of the GPL.

What do I do about it?

Old 01-11-2003, 11:40 AM   #2
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seems to be the way forward
Old 01-11-2003, 11:55 AM   #3
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I think it all depends, if they are releasing it to the public for others to use instead for personal use, then yeah, they are violating the GPL License holder.

If this ex-employer is only using it for themselves and not publicly, I don't think they necessarily have to release the source. Like I could take acid's program, customize it for myself, call it something else and never tell anyone as long as I use it only for me. ( not that I would do that cause I know squat about programming )
Look at Lindows, there was a controversy about them not releasing the code to everyone publicly, but in fact they are releasing to the ones who are using it and request it, so somehow it can get confusing. I do believe though if they modify a program and distribute it to people and lets say the modified the kernel, if Linus asked for the code, they would have to give it to him since he is the copyleft owner and they are distributing his modified source code to people making money off of it.. etc.

But I'd say report them anyways, at most there could be an investigation to resolve the matter. First thing to do is contact OpenOffice, they're the one's who can enforce this upon this ex-employer.
Old 01-11-2003, 12:09 PM   #4
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Yep, they're in violation definitely.

One problem is that it wil be pretty obvious who snitched on them because I did most of the modifications to the program!! That's not in violation but the way they're subsequently distributing it is according to the guidelines.

Hmm. I still need them for a employer reference. I'm going to do this, but not yet.

Thanks for your help.

Old 01-11-2003, 11:06 PM   #5
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lol, use 'em and abuse 'em, hey would it be illeagal for you, the programmer, to distribute the source to the people they sold the software to or gave it to? that is assuming you kept a copy of the source yourself and know who they gave the product to. i havent read all of the GPL because i havent had to so far.

Last edited by Robert0380; 01-11-2003 at 11:09 PM.


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