Question about charge for source CD distribution.
joseph at heenan.me.uk
Thu Dec 15 13:25:14 CET 2011
On 15/12/2011 10:42, J.M. Becker wrote:
> Hello GPL Violations,
> I have searched and scoured, to the best of my abilities. I'm looking
> for verification of this line, "You may charge a fee for the physical
> act of transferring a copy"
> Does this cover just the "physical" costs? such as CD, shipping and
> handling,.. etc
> or are things like "employee work time" covered? I really hope not,
> as at what hourly rate what an "employee" be charged?
> how capable must he be? Could the CEO at 1000$ an hour, be the one
> who does that request?
> What if its an IT company, and the lowest paid employee is 50$ an
> hour? How should the payment be accepted? Could someone choose
> significantly difficult ways of receiving payment?
Assuming GPLv2, the more relevant phrase for source distribution is
probably this one (given the situation you describe):
*"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, "
This makes it quite clear that it is the provider's actual incurred
costs, not some random made up figure that they charge the employee out at.
I think it would be difficult to justify that the physical act would
consume an hour of an employee's time.
I don't think it mentions anything restrictions on payment. I'm not sure
how difficult you could make payment - if it went to court, I would
expect the court to take exception to anything overly unreasonable that
appears to have been picked with the objective of making payment
difficult (depending which jurisdiction you / the company is in).
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