Commercial GPL Blender addons and the copyleft?

Note that i just want some clarification. And i grant the addon developers ever cent they earn with their addons. It’s not my point to take them away anything. The reason why i ask is that i would love to have a look at the one or another source code to learn from. Which is one of the reasons why GPL exists.

The GPL explicitely states that for software under GPL the source code must be public available. For free. Since GPL code is under copyleft. And the Blender market addons are all under GPL.

Well. You can with some research find some github accounts for some of the addons. But not for all of them. And i don’t see a single link to a github account at the Blender market. Nor any other download place for the source code there. When you want the source code, then you have to buy the plugin. Which is against GPL from what i understand.

So what does this mean for the addons of the Blender market? Is the current way of distribution illegal? Or do i overlook something here?

I thought it’s more like if you sell GPL stuff, you also have to provide the source code when delivering your product.

Lapineige put his github for example.

Jacques Luke too with a link to his post.

For retopo flow there is a github too, but not sure it’s the last version.

"Except for one special situation, the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL) has no requirements about how much you can charge for distributing a copy of free software. You can charge nothing, a penny, a dollar, or a billion dollars. It’s up to you, and the marketplace, so don’t complain to us if nobody wants to pay a billion dollars for a copy.

The one exception is in the case where binaries are distributed without the corresponding complete source code. Those who do this are required by the GNU GPL to provide source code on subsequent request."

exactly, you will have to provide the sourcecode on demand, alot of people just provide the sourcecode of gpl licenced code for a wider audience on the internet and so they dont have to deal with the masses of people requesting access to the sourcecode individually.

Out of the gnu faq (

I just found out that a company has a copy of a GPL’ed program, and it costs money to get it. Aren’t they violating the GPL by not making it available on the Internet? (#CompanyGPLCostsMoney)

No. The GPL does not require anyone to use the Internet for distribution. It also does not require anyone in particular to redistribute the program. And (outside of one special case), even if someone does decide to redistribute the program sometimes, the GPL doesn’t say he has to distribute a copy to you in particular, or any other person in particular.
What the GPL requires is that he must have the freedom to distribute a copy to you if he wishes to. Once the copyright holder does distribute a copy of the program to someone, that someone can then redistribute the program to you, or to anyone else, as he sees fit.

I thought it’s more like if you sell GPL stuff, you also have to provide the source code when delivering your product.

This is exactly the question. Because it is not copyleft anymore when you have to buy the source code.

Thanks for the link sakuje. This makes it a bit clearer :slight_smile:

So when i understand it right there is no obligation to hand out the source code at all. Odd interpretation of copyleft and open source. Ah, GPL :smiley:

Well there is an obligation if you’re asked to give it to someone requesting it, but generally free means free from restrictions not free from paying.

you have to give the source code access to anyone you give the program to along with the gpl and the rights there in. it is not their obligation to give the source code to anyone they did not distribute the program to. but if someone who has the program and sourcecode chooses to give you a copy, for free, that is their right. it could be someone who has bought it. the gpl includes a distribution license. i have seen people claiming someone was “pirating” a gpl plugin giving away or selling copies which is a false claim. piracy is distributing copies you dont have a license or right to. the gpl gives everyone with the program the right to distribute it so you cant pirate gpl programs.

so while the script writer has no obligation to provide it to you, he also has no right to prevent someone else from giving it to you. its in the gpl.

Thanks :slight_smile:

Message is too short …

Nope, it isn’t against the GPL. The GPL obligates authors to make source code available at cost, to every user of the published program. This doesn’t mean source code must be published along with the program. This doesn’t obligate authors to distribute their source code to everyone, just the users of their program. This doesn’t mean they must maintain a public repository. This doesn’t even mean they must do so over the internet, or within a specific timeframe.

If a programmer really wants to be an ass he can just write “Source code available at <address in Cuba here>, on every third friday of the year, between 3:00 and 5:00AM. Please bring own floppies.”

Yes. This was the part that was not clear to me since it contradicts a bit with the copyleft and open source idea.

Good to know Piotr, thx :wink:

The fundamental problem business-wise is the person who has now the code in his hands is not required to keep it confidential but can freely further redistribute. You will be able to sell one copy of your program and then the thing becomes freely available to everybody.

Yep. On the other end of the being-a-total-ass spectrum, someone could put up a Blender Market Mirror™ website which either buys addons or collects them from users and redistributes them for free - and ruin CG Cookie’s and addon authors’ business model. There’s nothing at all anyone could do about it; it would be perfectly legal and permitted by the license.

It doesn’t contradict. You simply didn’t have a complete understanding of what copyleft is. Part of this comes from the multiple meanings of the word “free”, but that discussion has been hashed out more than once here and throughout the internet, so there’s no need to repeat it here.

Mh, that my understanding of copyleft differs from yours does not mean that my view is incomplete. Just that it is different.

But you are right, we’ve been through this before a thousand times. My question is answered. Thanks again :slight_smile:

There’s nothing at all anyone could do about it; it would be perfectly legal and permitted by the license.

Of course just granted that there is no non GPL content involved. Like a manual …

Section 6 of the GPL stipulates how exactly the source code can be conveyed when it isn’t distributed along with the binaries. You must be referring to the option of giving a “written offer”:

“b) Convey the object code in, or embodied in, a physical product (including a physical distribution medium), accompanied by a written offer, valid for at least three years and valid for as long as you offer spare parts or customer support for that product model, to give anyone who possesses the object code either (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.”

Therefore, you have to provide the “customarily used physical medium” (floppies aren’t so customary anymore) and you can’t just charge whatever you want. Whether “to give” here means you’d be forced to mail CDs to the ISS (at a reasonable cost, of course) or whether you could just hand them out from a shack in the Antarctic would be an interesting question for the courts.

The “written offer” mentioned above actually extends through third parties (“anyone who possesses the object code”). If I give you a copy and you give that copy to someone else, that person is then entitled to take up the offer from me.

That language there is so vague that even punchcards would probably hold up in court. And a floppy is definitely a durable physical medium customarily used for software interchange and not a coffee cup coaster. I have a box of floppies from 1991 and it says “lifetime warranty” on them, so they must be durable! Also, I still got my mouse drivers on a floppy this year! :smiley:

And “price” doesn’t necessarily imply it has to be specified in any kind of currency, so a “price” of one floppy (or however many the source code needs) would be entirely reasonable since it covers the cost pretty closely, less the electricity and your time.

But of course, that was just a bit of a joke, meant from the outset to be unreasonable. No sane person would do this. Hopefully.

an arrangement whereby software or artistic work may be used, modified, and distributed freely on condition that anything derived from it is bound by the same conditions.

Note the fact it doesn’t say the author must initially provide the work for free. Only that once a person has the work they may use, modify, and distribute it freely. A lot of the arguments regarding open source, copyleft, and the like come from people misunderstanding the difference between an option & a requirement.