[nSLUG] Nexuiz and the GPL Violation
juggins at gmail.com
Mon Feb 14 11:47:38 AST 2011
On 11-02-14 09:42 AM, sheldon Tower wrote:
> Maybe this is old news, but I've just found out that Lee Vermeulen,
> founder of the open source, GPL'ed, first person shooter game, Nexuiz,
> was able to sell the source code and game content to Illfonic, a
> console game developer. I don't understand how Mr. Vermeulen was able
> to do this,
If Vermeulen owns the source he's free to offer it to different people
under different licences. Illfonic, presumably knows that it's buying
content that has already been released to the public under the GPL. If
not, they might have some complaints.
> but it's made me question wether or not the GPL has any real legal
> merit, and if this could happen again to other projects. If large,
> closed source software developers don't have some respect for the GPL,
> many other open source projects could be at risk. Who's to say that
> the Linux Kernel it's self couldn't be snatched away, and closed right
> under us?
The GPL never constrains the author/developer of original source code.
The legal benefit of the GPL is that it extends certain rights (and
obligations) to every downstream developer and user. Linus Torvald,
could in theory release linux 3.0 under a proprietary license, selling
it to a private company and refuse to release any updates under the
GPL. However, every developer and user of the latest 2.6 kernel would
still have all the freedom to use and modify the code they have. Linux
would be effectively forked at this point - just as many other projects
have been forked in the past for other reasons.
The concern in that case would be the ownership of the trade name
"linux". Recently people in the open source community have begun drawing
attention to this issue.
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