[development] Modules that integrate non-GPL PHP apps violate the GPL.

Bryan Ruby bryan at cmsreport.com
Thu Sep 6 05:31:04 UTC 2007

Caleb Gilbert wrote:
> Does anyone else realize that (past a point) none of these discussions 
> matter much compared to actual court rulings?
> Of course the people that came up with the GPL are going to say that 
> they hold the final say in what it means or doesn't. And of course 
> others will say differently at times. If anyone really wants to find 
> out what the GPL covers, and what it doesn't, the only way to truly do 
> it is to lawyer up and hope that your gal/guy is more persuasive than 
> the other side.  ;)
> - Caleb, "lawyers rule the world", Gilbert

The issue though comes down to whether Drupal.org has a vested interest 
in protecting its license and ultimately the community's own software.  
In many countries, the history of how an organization protects its 
copyright, trademarks, licenses, and other intellectual property is 
significant in determining who has ultimate ownership.  If Drupal.org 
allows itself to distribute modules that are known to contain code that 
is not compatible (subject to debate I know) with the GPL license then 
in practice Drupal.org is not enforcing it's own license.  Down the road 
a company could redistribute modified version of Drupal claiming and 
claim they are under no obligation to "give back" to the community due 
to Drupal.org's own historical lack of enforcing the GPL.  At least 
that's how I interpret in a non-lawyer way the main concern if 
Drupal.org continues the way it goes it how it handles contributed modules.

While I agree that most developers and users are not likely able to 
interpret in lawyer speak the impact contributed modules bridging 
non-GPL compatible software have to Drupal...someone in the ranks of 
Drupal.org needs to know.  If Drupal.org isn't clear what the GPL says 
or doesn't say then there are bigger problems Drupal is facing then just 
the lawyers knocking at the door.  That's just my U take on the whole 
matter (I wish to spread no F or D but I think questions and uncertainty 
in the long run).


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