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Open-Source Projects Are Getting Ripped On Amazon

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  • Open-Source Projects Are Getting Ripped On Amazon

    Phoronix: Open-Source Projects Are Getting Ripped On Amazon

    It's been brought to my attention today by a Phoronix reader that several major open-source projects are being ripped off and sold for-profit on Amazon by a small company out of the United Kingdom. FlightGear, InkScape, and Scribus are among the free software projects being affected right now and Amazon apparently has yet to catch onto this or act...

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=OTAyNg

  • #2
    Selling

    I'm sorry, but you can sell free software under the gnu public license. Yes, it is a little misleading to do something like this, but it is legal.

    http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.html

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by williamthrilliam View Post
      I'm sorry, but you can sell free software under the gnu public license. Yes, it is a little misleading to do something like this, but it is legal.

      http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/selling.html
      No, it's not. When you do, you have to tell people what rights they have (you cannot take a GPL licensed project and strip the GPL from it.) Also, some of the stuff is not GPL; the game's artwork and music are not GPLed and forbidden to sell without permission.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by RealNC View Post
        No, it's not. When you do, you have to tell people what rights they have (you cannot take a GPL licensed project and strip the GPL from it.) Also, some of the stuff is not GPL; the game's artwork and music are not GPLed and forbidden to sell without permission.
        Ignoring the Creative Commons licensed components for the moment, and playing devil's advocate, do you know that they aren't distributing the (potentially modified) source code on the CDROM with a copy of the GPL?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by RealNC View Post
          No, it's not. When you do, you have to tell people what rights they have (you cannot take a GPL licensed project and strip the GPL from it.) Also, some of the stuff is not GPL; the game's artwork and music are not GPLed and forbidden to sell without permission.
          From the link I provided: "The one exception is in the case where binaries are distributed without the corresponding complete source code. Those who do this are required by the GNU GPL to provide source code on subsequent request. "

          And I did not know about the artwork that isn't GPL, and in that case would in fact infringe on someone else's IP. That doesn't change the fact though that selling GPL'd software is a-ok.

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          • #6
            Also, I'm fairly sure a copy of the GPL license must be distributed with the software.

            And even if it's not technically illegal, it's grossly dishonest, and something that Amazon shouldn't tolerate.

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            • #7
              Oh, Butterfly Media's definitely being shifty...

              For starters, you don't rip off content off of the websites and file the serial numbers off of the content (i.e. blurring out app titles, etc...) if you're trying to be on the up and up- so guys, do please quit trying to play "devils advocate" here...

              Before you remark, I did verify what was claimed in the article and there's at least a lot of smoke from something smoldering there.

              Comment


              • #8
                Selling

                You guys all seem to be operating under the assumption that they're actually delivering a product. Did anyone try to buy one of them?

                The "Photo Studio" page mentions Adobe all over it. Seems more like an outright scam where they're likely to not give you anything.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by 3vi1 View Post
                  You guys all seem to be operating under the assumption that they're actually delivering a product. Did anyone try to buy one of them?

                  The "Photo Studio" page mentions Adobe all over it. Seems more like an outright scam where they're likely to not give you anything.
                  Ding! Give the man a ceeegaaaar!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by TechMage89 View Post
                    Also, I'm fairly sure a copy of the GPL license must be distributed with the software.

                    And even if it's not technically illegal, it's grossly dishonest, and something that Amazon shouldn't tolerate.
                    The details in the product section on Amazon clearly talks about flight gear, open source and GPL.

                    It looks like it is a zero-add fork of some of those applications. Permitted in general by the GPL. It's definitely not "nice", but that is secondary.

                    By choosing code under some of those licenses you give up the rights to control who and how in a lot of cases. Create Commons are similar. If you go for a permissive license with attribution, you may end up being associated with something you don't.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mtippett View Post
                      The details in the product section on Amazon clearly talks about flight gear, open source and GPL.

                      It looks like it is a zero-add fork of some of those applications. Permitted in general by the GPL. It's definitely not "nice", but that is secondary.

                      By choosing code under some of those licenses you give up the rights to control who and how in a lot of cases. Create Commons are similar. If you go for a permissive license with attribution, you may end up being associated with something you don't.
                      In at least the cases of Scribus and InkScape that they're "selling" there's not really any mention of either than they've glommed onto copyrighted content NOT GPLed and blurred things out in a clear attempt to hide origins... Some of it might be what you're claiming, but when you go to those lengths, something's up, Matthew...

                      I'm not going to say they're ripping GPL/LGPLed projects off yet- but it's pretty fishy what's going on and it's not just "not nice".

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Lots of software that is there is not GPL. There seem to be some windows only software that are not opensource. Some 'abandonware' games (which probably aren't legal to distribute). Even Orbiter is there.

                        About selling GPL software as something else the famous case that comes to my ming is Flightgear:

                        http://www.flightgear.org/forums/vie...t=8187&p=80263
                        http://www.flightprosim.com/

                        And fact is it's completely legal as long as you follow GPL.
                        There was a fight about this already. What they did manage to do was for the 'company' to admit on their webpage that this sim is based on Flightgear (which AFAIR is required by GPL).

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Full compliance with the letter of all licenses should be the top priority issue here. If they're violating Creative Commons or the GPL, we can sick the SFLC on them. A successful campaign would result most likely in a settlement -- a slap on the wrist -- and them coming into compliance.

                          If/when they come into compliance with all licenses, ancillary issues crop up that potential customers could encourage them to act on to improve their now-legitimate product (a legitimate product is one that is produced and distributed in compliance with all laws and contracts):
                          • The company should give credit where credit is due, explicitly listing on their website and shopping sites any third-party free software projects whose work is the basis of these products.
                          • The company should ensure that the cost of the software media is proportional to the amount of additional work that was put into the software, above and beyond rebranding free software that was downloaded free of charge.
                          • The company should make value-added enhancements to the software, distributing them either under the original free software project's licenses, or as a distinct add-on under their own license, depending upon the derivative work situation and the license of the original free software project.
                          • The company should make source code available to the general public, either on their website, or on shipped media to paying customers.
                          • The company should financially support the free software projects they are using, with a (small) cut of their profits.

                          If they just comply with the licenses without doing any of the "shoulds" I listed, I would never buy nor promote their products, nor recommend that anyone else consider them. But they would be able to remain in business, which is fair enough.

                          If they actually implement most / all of the "shoulds" I listed, I might actually evaluate the product and see if it provides something I would want. And depending on how much they actually try to be a good commercial open source company, I might even recommend them to others.

                          As it stands, I can't recommend them at all, but it's possible they are just misguided. If they can be made to see reason and start to do some of the shoulds after complying with all licenses, then I'd welcome their participation as another good open source citizen.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Svartalf View Post
                            I'm not going to say they're ripping GPL/LGPLed projects off yet- but it's pretty fishy what's going on and it's not just "not nice".
                            There is legal and there "right". The "right" part is all about the items that allquixotic mentions. "right" is subjective, but something that is "wrong" may be 100% legal, but still be morally repugnant to the majority of the community. Look back to a lot of the laws and right judgements that the countries that all now push for race and religion equality only 50 years ago.

                            Yes, it looks like a parasitic company. But I'd be careful declaring them as illegal.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by RealNC View Post
                              No, it's not. When you do, you have to tell people what rights they have (you cannot take a GPL licensed project and strip the GPL from it.) Also, some of the stuff is not GPL; the game's artwork and music are not GPLed and forbidden to sell without permission.
                              The intentional inflamatory title line of the post makes is sound like we're "mad" that somebody is selling "open source" (and let's say GPL FOSS) programs... and as mentioned, that is perfectly legal as long as the GPL requirements are met.

                              So.. while true, IF somebody is selling GPL software and is indeed stripping the GPL from it.. that's IS of course, wrong... but that's NOT what the title of the news post implies.

                              So.. I think we have two errors. The post title... and what a company might be doing that is wrong.

                              Comment

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