Subject: Re: GNU GPL vs. source code fees
From: Richard Fontana <>
Date: Tue, 14 Dec 2010 10:06:36 -0500

On Tue, Dec 14, 2010 at 09:54:44AM -0500, John Cowan wrote:
> Lior W. scripsit:
> > states authors can charge 
> > whatever they want, but only for binaries. What they don't say is what's 
> > the limit for source codes. Does the license dictate the source code be 
> > given for free or can it have a cost just as long as it's "reasonable"?
> What the GPL says is that IF you sell or give away the binary, you
> must also provide the corresponding source for no more than (ten times)
> your actual cost to transfer it, such as the cost of a CD-ROM.
> The words "ten times" apply to the GPLv3 only.

Er, the words "ten times" don't appear in GPLv3. :-)

GPLv3 speaks about the issue of what you can charge for Corresponding
Source in section 6(b) and 6(d). 6(b) says that if you use the written
offer, the offer must be either for "(1) a copy of the Corresponding
Source for all the software in the product that is covered by this
License, on a durable physical medium customarily used for software
interchange, for a price no more than your reasonable cost of
physically performing this conveying of source, or (2) access to copy
the Corresponding Source from a network server at no charge. Under
6(d), primarily intended for network distribution of binaries, you
must offer equivalent access to Corresponding Source "at no further

- RF