Consider a service such as Netflix... if on the server side netflix used code with a GPL license attached, do they have to make their server side code available under the terms of the GPL?

Obviously netflix being only an example, the company I worked for mostly provides 'services', we don't sell software that anyone can download to their computers, more like, computers over a network talk to our computers and stuff gets done.

Can I consider using GPL code in this environment without making all my code 'open source'?

marked as duplicate by user40980, jk., gnat, Bart van Ingen Schenau, user53019 Sep 2 '13 at 19:50

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No, you don't have to release any GPL-derived code as long as it is executed only on your own servers.

The GPL only applies when a program is given to another party.

There is the Affero GPL which requires to license the program to anyone who uses it remotely over a computer network, but this is still a rather exotic license.

  • What might this statement from FAQs mean, esp. the second paragraph: But if you release the modified version to the public in some way, the GPL requires you to make the modified source code available to the program's users, under the GPL. Isn't this "releasing the modified version to public in some way"? – Fr0zenFyr Jun 21 '16 at 9:07
  • I think that it's up for interpretation by a court, but it seems reasonable to me that you aren't releasing anything to the public since the code resides on your servers. You are merely giving access to your server which in turn runs the code. You aren't distributing anything. – Arlen Anderson Aug 25 '17 at 17:10

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