[development] Convince Client to Release Code

Nir Aides nir at winpdb.org
Mon Jul 13 09:40:11 UTC 2009

This is an interesting legal problem.

According to the GPL, your work is derived from software covered by the GPL
and therefore the client can not give you a copy of the source under any
terms other than the GPL even if they own the copyright to the part of the
work created by you.

Now, you have a copy of the source (since you created it) by permission
(which may be irrelevant) of the client.
Therefore the copy you have is governed by the GPL and it is illegal of the
client to prevent you from distributing it under the GPL.

Some people might look at this problem and trivially dismiss it because of
such and such, but I wonder if it can be trivially dismissed.

The interesting thing is that there are a lot of transactions and business
based on similar relationships between developers and clients. The
consequences of this problem can therefore be huge.

This is not the only problem with the GPL. There are other fundamental
problems such as the problem of determining and maintaining ownership of
copyright of Free Software projects.

I would love to hear the opinion of a legal expert on this.


On Mon, Jul 13, 2009 at 11:53 AM, Fred Jones <fredthejonester at gmail.com>wrote:

> We have one client for whom we wrote a set of custom modules. I asked
> the client if we could put the modules on d.o and he balked. I tried
> to explain that he'll get good testing and also bug fixes and new
> features maybe, if others post patches etc.
> He feels that he (his organization that is) paid for the work and why
> should someone else now benefit? He also has this idea that other
> organizations like his will want a site like his and he has plans to
> provide a hosted service for them (while this idea may seem
> far-fetched, I do think he has some connections which might make this
> idea feasible).
> So he thinks if we release the code, then they will just grab the code
> and use it. I tried to explain that your average layman has no idea
> what Drupal is, no way to figure out your site is running Drupal, and
> if even he got that far, he has no way of building his site without a
> professional to put the pieces together (after they figure what those
> pieces are of course), and then they he would do just as well to use
> our hosted plan!
> But he hasn't accepted this. Are there any good arguments we can use
> to persuade him? I feel he has nothing to lose in releasing the code,
> but we have to convince him of that.
> Thanks.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.drupal.org/pipermail/development/attachments/20090713/cfe07dd1/attachment.htm>

More information about the development mailing list