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GPL License questions

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by Yeahha, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. Yeahha

    Yeahha Usually off topic
    Thread Starter

    Currently there is a rom dev who charges for his rom for several phones. While he does sometimes put on a public rom, the most recent one being in early August, if you want to run his rom you have to donate to him to get access to the nightlys. He asks donators not to redistribute the nightlys. I can only assume that if he discovered someone was redistributing them he would block their access to the new nightlys.

    My question is how is this in compliance with the GPL license? According to the GNU website he is allowed to charge for a GPL product, but the person who purchased the product could then provide it to others at any cost.

    Below I have quoted part of the FAQ from the GPL website to support what I said above. If anyone knows how this is in compliance please speak up because for the life of me I can not figure out how to twist the GPL to allow this. I can understand why he is doing so but it looks like he is in violation of the license and could/should be reported as regardless of the reason it is a violation, at least from what I can tell.


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  2. bjanow

    bjanow Android Expert

    What if he puts some proprietary code into the open source. Can he then legally charge?
  3. Yeahha

    Yeahha Usually off topic
    Thread Starter

    He can legally charge for it as is but it can be redistributed, if he says there is part of the code that can't be redistributed that would be a violation or it would make all roms that are based on OEM UI (sense, touchwiz, blur...) subject to copyright lawsuits
  4. bjanow

    bjanow Android Expert

    We can distribute for sure, but he requests not until public release. So legally he's ok since he's not threatening lawsuit or copyright infringement?
  5. scotty85

    scotty85 Extreme Android User

    i think legally he is fine. he can request donations,and in turn provide those who donate with special priveledges. unless an agreement is signed by those donaters not to redistribute,they are perfectly able to do with their copy as they please.

    wether or not a legal agreement can be made that doesnt violate the GPS,i dont know. its been one of those days,and my head hurts too much for rational thot at the moment ;)

    there is nothing that forces him to release his work to the public. we all have access to the same source,we can learn to program and write it ourselves if we want it that desperately. he can ask for donations,he can withold his work from some,he can withhold from those that redistribute,we are free to not use it if we dont agree with his policies.

    i personally am with brizey... ive donated to quite a few developers,and would be much more likely to donate to said developer if he werent witholding nigtlys in exchange for donations.

    your favorite deveolpers should absolutely be supported with fedback,willingness to test things,and defiantely donations. but im not gonna be bullied into it.

    i like said rom,its running great. but there are lots of others that run great for me as well,whose developers are willing to distribute for a simple click of the "thanks" button,so my limted funding will prolly go that way.

    and no hard feelings from me toward that dev,or those that have donated,and wish to not share the rom after.

    my 2 cents :eek:
  6. Yeahha

    Yeahha Usually off topic
    Thread Starter

    I'm sure it would be in violation if he required the donator to sign an agreement not to redistribute. I have no issues donating to devs either (in fact I have donated to the dev that is currently doing this but that was over a year ago). His public releases seem to come further and further apart. After reading over the posts I agree he wouldn't be in violation but neither would a donator who made the nightlys public. I can respect the donator not making them public.

    I don't like what he is doing personally which is if you want a current rom then you need to pay for it but to each his own I suppose. I like his roms but I am perfectly happy running other's as well.
  7. alostpacket

    alostpacket Over Macho Grande?

    Does he distribute a modified kernel with it?

    Most of Android (especially AOSP) is under the business friendly Apache license.

    If he only changed Apache stuff the GPL doesnt apply even if he is distributing a Linux Kernel. If he changes the Kernel, he must provide source and for that Kernel the GPLv2 would apply (such as the NDA stuff). However this doesn't apply to anything Apache. Anything licensed under Apache needs no source and can be taken completely proprietary.

    ...they are subject to copyright lawsuits.... It's just that no one wants to sue a modder = insta-bad PR. Hence the opposite happens = Samsung hired cyanogen.
    Yeahha likes this.
  8. Yeahha

    Yeahha Usually off topic
    Thread Starter

    Another dev does the kernel work, from what I understand all the kernels he has included are available as a flashable zip and yes I do believe they are modified from a stock Linux kernel. I am not about to guess on what is changed, I know there are modified stock apps, and he bases the rom off of CM7 source, it is slightly modified from the CM7 source.

    I didn't think about it that way. I remember reading a while back where HTC sent a C&D letter to a rom dev for using Sense source in roms but I think that was on the G1.
  9. digdug1

    digdug1 Android Expert

    i think it should be noted that said dev was banned from a couple of forums for going on a tirade because of a lack of donations. i wont mention the sites that banned him because his identity would be a dead giveaway(although i probably gave him away anyway to those who remember ;)).
    a former member of his team started a thread asking you to email him after you donated to get the rom. i think that was actually what got him in the most trouble.

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