I would like to create an open source GPLv3 project that will work with other resources that are under different types of copyright (e.g. free to use, but must not sell). Because of this, I can't include the 3rd party resources in the main project's open source repository.

So I tought I would keep the core project separated under GPLv3, then have a private project that include the core and the 3rd party resources and create a "compiled" release that would be released under a more restrictive license that statisfy the 3rd party licenses. This way the goat has enough to eat and the cabbage also remains.

Can I do it this way? If not, how should I handle the situation?

  • Is the only difference the "must not sell" provision? Feb 9, 2015 at 21:28
  • @RobertHarvey There could be attribution request too. I don't know what else should I calculate with. Of course if they request share-alike or they want to charge then I can't use those.
    – totymedli
    Feb 9, 2015 at 21:33
  • 1
    My feeling is that the "must not sell" provision goes against the grain of the GPL. The GPL is about preserving users' freedoms, not reducing them, so "must not sell" seems at odds with it. Accordingly, your second licensing agreement may be completely different. Feb 10, 2015 at 0:08
  • Note that anyone can always get the code from someone you GPL-licensed it to, so the "must not sell" provision may not have any teeth anyway. Feb 10, 2015 at 0:13
  • @RobertHarvey Yes, thats why I would like to create a separate release project that is not under GPL. I have the right to do that because I am the copyright holder of my code so I can release it under both GPL and something else. So my code will be available under GPL while the different licensed version can contain the 3rd party resources.
    – totymedli
    Feb 10, 2015 at 9:52

1 Answer 1


Assuming you are the copyright holder for all the code, then yes you can do this. But as I understand things, no other entity will be able to compliantly create a derived work and distribute it because of the incompatibility of the licenses for the code and the "resources". This problem doesn't apply to you since you're the owner of the code and hence not bound by the GPL3 license.

My recommendation would be to either find alternate resources which have a GPL3 compatible license, or release your code under a license which is compatible with the resources, so that your licensees can release modified works.

Try http://choosealicense.com/ for help with choosing another license.

  • Wow, you are right. I totally forgot about that others couldn't fork the program only if they would be OK to use it without the resources.
    – totymedli
    Feb 13, 2015 at 18:35

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