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dj9928 04-13-2005 03:58 AM

Is It Ok To Sell Linux On Ebay??
I sold a copy of Linux mandrake on ebay. It was the version that you can freely download,I sold it to this guy only to discover he was from the BSA and he has now passed on my details to Mandrake and told me that software pirates can face uptp 10 years in Jail. Is this true? Im scared now as I thought it was ok to distribute Linux and it only sold for 1.00GBP

penguinlnx 04-13-2005 04:28 AM

That really sucks. Why would they go after a small fry?

They must be bored, or desperate to justify their huge budgets.

Usually 'software piracy' practically speaking is about making thousands of copies of something and selling them.

If you just sold a disk for a couple of bucks (the cost of the disk and your time) what is the problem? Its a free distro anyway, so it's not like you are threatening someone's software market.

Alot of policing is in the grey (commercial) area where money is involved and big corporations are just looking to make an example out of people to discourage others. Beware because you are swimming in the ocean with sharks, and little fish are just fish-food.

Years ago I remember when a few kids made some beep boxes and got 'free' long-distance out of Bell telephone. The big corporations made out that these guys were 'super-criminals' and some even had to do 5 or 10 years hard time because Bell wanted to make an example of them.
Ten years for a victimless crime? That blows and is a miscarriage of justice in the extreme.

When it is actually Big Business who decides what a crime is, and what the penalty will be, it really blows. A real democracy in action would allow the people to vote on issues like who gets to define what a crime is, and who the criminals are. Right now, even democracy blows, for the guy on the street.

dj9928 04-13-2005 04:35 AM

Well thats what i though,people on dial up have no chance of downloading Linux as it has 3-5 discs with each 1 at least 600mb. So I was just doing people a favour .

scuzzman 04-13-2005 04:41 AM

This guy's full of it. You cannot be held liable for this, as you were only charging for the shipment and packaging. This is actually very noble, and you need to tell that guy to shove it.

dj9928 04-13-2005 05:38 AM

I hear that the bsa are bad ass mother f****** hence why i worried about this.

J.W. 04-14-2005 08:03 PM

I wouldn't worry too much about this, considering that the GPL specifically allows people to sell GPL'ed software for money If you were selling hundreds of copies of pirated commercial software (eg, Windows XP), then Yes, that would be wrong, but selling a single copy of a Linux distro (which can be obtained for free BTW) doesn't fall into the same category. -- J.W.

trickykid 04-14-2005 08:23 PM

Just reply to him and tell him even Richard Stallman encourages for people to sell GPL software to make a small buck or two.. and then tell him to shove it up his own arse.. sorry about the language, but that's the truth.

Or you could reply and tell him you got ripped off in the deal since it only cost 1.00GBP, try to estimate the real cost of you burning it, time taken to package, gas or money spent to drop off to mail it out and the shipping costs, unless the winner paid for shipping.. ;)

Or you can email me his details and I'll give him some intellectual piece of GPL knowledge in ninja kung fu I'm gonna prove you wrong mofo style and tell him to get a life by first reading the GPL and then to stop hassling those selling perfectly legal copies of GPL software. :D

foo_bar_foo 04-14-2005 11:29 PM

the way i understand it if it was Mandrake and you sold it as such and it was the freely downloadable version you have done nothing wrong
this is from the mandrk/now mandriva website in the "Legal" section

# 6.Can I distribute Download Products?
/a Yes, it is permissible to copy and distribute Download products

so sell a million more of them just clearly lable them as "Mandrakelinux Download Edition"

tardigrade 04-15-2005 12:40 AM

there was on forum on forums.suse.somethingorother about this awhile ago. Basicly someone asked Novell if it was ok to give SuSE Pro (note the Pro) to others and suse said as long as you gain nothing from it it is ok. that is money, food, service etc. This was because of the commerical software on the disks. Id assume your safe if it was in fact the free download off of the mandr* site. Dont worry about it, i think that guy is trying to scare you for some reason.

crinklestein 05-16-2005 12:13 PM

I am currently having a similar problem with the Mepis Linux team. I have been selling this on Ebay for several months and doing quite well with it. The other day Ebay yanks ALL of my Mepis auctions and tells me that they were notified by the copyright holder and that it was in violation of that copyright. I remember reading on the Mepis site that it was legal to sell as long as you informed them that you were doing so AND that the software fell under the GPL.

I contacted the Mepis team at and they tell me that it was NEVER able to be sold for a profit. Only sold for free or given away. Then they have the balls to invite me to PURCHASE it from them at 50% off so that I can sell it for FREE on Ebay. Why the hell would I do a thing like that!?!?!

In my many emails back and forth with them they have yet to directly answer my question of whether Mepis falls under GPL anymore or not. The only reply I have gotten from this question is "You may sell it at ZERO profit or give it away free..."

Anyone have any comments on this?

crinklestein 05-16-2005 12:17 PM

I just got them to admit to me that Mepis still falls under the GPL. This is what they said:
"Yes it does still fall under the GPL. However, you may NOT sell for a
once again. When you sell these for a profit, you are breaking the
and trademark laws...

If you want a copy of the license agreement, you can find one on the
site or ask MEPIS themselves.

I see this email as you challenging the copyrights and trademarks. If
wish, please email our legal department at"

cb951303 05-16-2005 12:23 PM

u can always say that u charge for cd-roms not the software itself

and why the hell u wanna sell linux on e bay, it s ridicilous

crinklestein 05-16-2005 12:29 PM

I wanna sell Linux on Ebay because people BUY Linux on Ebay.

J.W. 05-16-2005 12:36 PM

If the software falls under the GPL, then you can sell it for whatever price you wish. To quote the GPL itself:

Does the GPL allow me to sell copies of the program for money?
Yes, the GPL allows everyone to do this. The right to sell copies is part of the
definition of free software. Except in one special situation, there is no limit on
what price you can charge. (The one exception is the required written offer to
provide source code that must accompany binary-only release.)

If Mepis falls under the GPL, then they cannot dictate to you what you choose to do with it. BTW, who exactly are these "" people, and what do they have to do with anything? Why not just deal directly to Mepis? -- J.W.

crinklestein 05-16-2005 12:45 PM

They apparently are the new copyright holders of Mepis. They are the ones who contacted Ebay to tell them to cancel my auctions. Ebay informed me of this and told me to go through them directly and gave me the email addy to use to do so.

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