Don't put your software in the public domain

Steven D'Aprano steve at
Fri Jun 3 22:28:33 EDT 2016

On Sat, 4 Jun 2016 06:58 am, Nobody wrote:

> OTOH, a Free software licence is unilateral; the author grants the user
> certain rights, with the user providing nothing in return.

That's not the case with the GPL.

The GPL requires the user (not the end-user, who merely avails themselves of
their common law right to run the software, but the developer user, who
copies, distributes and modifies the code) to do certain things in return
for the right to copy, distribute and modify the code:

- you must forgo your right to keep your derived work a trade secret;

- you must keep copyright licences intact;

- you must attach certain notices (the GPL itself);

- you must make the source code to your derived work available to your
users, in certain ways (e.g. distributed together with the application) but
not others (locked in a filing cabinet at the bottom of a disused mineshaft
in Patagonia).

The courts in Germany have already found that the GPL satisfies the
conditions to be considered a contract; it is likely that so would US


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