Subject: Re: Possibly stupid GPL question
From: Russell Nelson <>
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 17:30:31 -0400 (EDT)

DJ Delorie writes:
 > > No, sorry . The NDA that you describe would be an unauthorized
 > > modification of my license terms. Concatenation of two agreements is
 > > possible _if_ the first agreement allows third parties to modify its
 > > terms with additional restrictions. The GPL _explicitly_prohibits_
 > > that.
 > But the GPL isn't the first agreement.  It's the second.

Right, and Bruce is saying that because the software has been copied
from them to you, that the GPL applies and their act of copying gives
you permission in spite of the NDA.

You could also say that because there's a contractural agreement, you
are enjoined to the company, and the company is not distributing the
software outside itself.  Since there is no copying, the GPL has no

Copying or not copying?  Only the judge knows for sure.

 > Consider a case with three parties: The vendor requires that the
 > recipient have an NDA with a *third* party before they can give them
 > the software.

That's an additional restriction.  If you then copy the software, you
are infringing the copyright.

-russ nelson <>
Crynwr sells support for free software  | PGPok | Government schools are so
521 Pleasant Valley Rd. | +1 315 268 1925 voice | bad that any rank amateur
Potsdam, NY 13676-3213  | +1 315 268 9201 FAX   | can outdo them. Homeschool!