[wp-hackers] Premium plugin protection

Doug Stewart zamoose at gmail.com
Mon Dec 13 23:21:12 UTC 2010

On Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 2:48 PM, Eric Mann <eric at eam.me> wrote:
>> You're conflating beer and speech (a common error, no doubt).
> No, I'm not.
> For a system to be compliant with the GPL (whether it's a paid system or a
> free system) you must provide the system's source code in "the preferred
> form of the work for making modifications to it."
> So, if I buy a premium plug-in for you that contains obfuscated code, you
> are still required to provide me with the unobfuscated code upon my request
> of it.  Since we're working under the terms of the GPL, I have the right to
> modify, add to, remove from, and redistribute this code.
> So what then is the value/purpose of selling me a piece of obfuscated code
> when you are still required to provide me with the unobfuscated code as
> well?

Ahhh, gotcha. The value/purpose is a simple one (though please don't
hear me as agreeing with the premise): since you only have to offer
access to the source code when asked ("make available") and you assume
that the vast majority of your potential users don't actually care
about having access to the code from a Freedom perspective, as long as
you're only distributing encrypted/obfuscated code, your potential
exposure to code/IP "theft" goes down concomitantly.

Of course, you'd be better off basing such an endeavor on a platform
that doesn't require a GPL license, but then, hey, I'm not saying the
decision is a good one, just that it's a decision.


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