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  • Removing footer credits, license issue

    Hey guys. I have genuine question about your license and hoped you would help me understand it.

    Maybe first I'll explain why I want to remove the footer. I have a project in mind, security oriented, privacy freak etc, and I want to deploy EspoCRM with WordPress on my server. I know I can hide as much information as possible about WordPress, admin panel, rewrite folders in .htaccess, remove footer info, remove version etc.

    When I Googled how to do this in EspoCRM, there were various topics stating this is illegal by the licence. I checked your license and it is GNU GPLv3, WordPress license is GNU GPLv2, but there's no useful difference between the two regarding footer attribution.

    And I want to point out that I DO NOT intend to redistribute your software, I just want to run it on my server, more like a SaaS service. I even checked it and found an article stating "obligations of the GPL are triggered upon software distribution and SaaS software by nature is not distributed.". Unless it is AGPLv3. If you treat SaaS as software distribution am I obligated to publish my source code to Github for example?

    So this is really confusing for me, because I really want to set up the project, but I don't want to be breaking any licenses. I also want to point out that I have many instances of EspoCRM and for all of them I want to retain credits to you site. Whenever I can I recommend your software. But I would really want to know how should I apply your license on day-to-day basis.

    Thank you.

  • #2
    Sorry, this is our rules as we are developers of EspoCRM.

    This notice in each EspoCRM file:

    /************************************************** **********************
    * The interactive user interfaces in modified source and object code versions
    * of this program must display Appropriate Legal Notices, as required under
    * Section 5 of the GNU General Public License version 3.
    *
    * In accordance with Section 7(b) of the GNU General Public License version 3,
    * these Appropriate Legal Notices must retain the display of the "EspoCRM" word.
    ************************************************** **********************/

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    • #3
      Thank you for your reply.

      I understand and respect that, I really do, you guys did a phenomenal job with the software, there's no doubt about that, but at the same time it is confusing. How is this rule can be enforced under GNU GPLv3?

      As I have written earlier: "obligations of the GPL are triggered upon software distribution and SaaS software by nature is not distributed.". And even if we'll decide to ignore this, GNU GPLv3 is an open source license, allowing people to copy and freely modify the code, but how is restricting the modification of footer code complies with the GNU GPLv3 open source mindset?

      The closest I could find on this subject on gnu.org page was this statement:
      Requiring citation in research papers which made use of GPL'd software goes beyond what would be an acceptable additional requirement under section 7(b) of GPLv3, and therefore would be considered an additional restriction under Section 7 of the GPL.
      So if under GNU such rule would be considered a restriction, it is at odds with this provision in GNU GPLv3 license:
      You may not impose any further restrictions on the exercise of the rights granted or affirmed under this License.
      I believe you as an authors and core developers have every right to impose your own terms and conditions, but when we speak about GNU GPLv3 license I think this matter should be crystal clear, both for users and developers using your software.

      I am not saying I am right or wrong, I am just confused and that is why I hope we can have a productive discussion whether such a rule is compliant with GNU GPLv3 license.

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      • #4
        There is no restrictions to use EspoCRM distributed under GPLv3 as SaaS service. Restriction is to remove EspoCRM word from the footer.
        The link you provided tells about research papers and academic publications.
        Last edited by AlexAv; 03-14-2018, 09:34 AM.

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        • #5
          I know the link tells about research papers, that is why I said it is the closest statement I could find regarding requiring attribution in GPLv3 licenses.

          Moreover:
          Appropriate Legal Notices must retain the display of the "EspoCRM" word.
          I don't see how this should be a restriction of removal of the footer?

          GPLv3 license requires the developers to leave any copyright notices in the source code untouched (copyright texts in PHP comments at the top of each file), but it doesn't say anything about restricting modifying of the files itself. GNU GPLv3 license clearly says:

          Requiring preservation of specified reasonable legal notices
          And this doesn't seem to be a reasonable rule under GNU core four essential freedoms which says:

          The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1).
          This rule not removing word from the footer is a bit similar to an "advertsing clause" which was in original "BSD License", which became incompatible with GNU who said:

          the advertising clause is incompatible with the GPL, which does not allow the addition of restrictions beyond those it already imposes
          But even if we assume hypothetically that the developers can put additional restrictions somehow in GNU licence, again GNU licence is triggered upon software distribution, and running GNU software on private server doesn't count as distribution, so how can you possibly enforce this rule under GNU GPLv3?

          Can you please provide a source which says the developers can place addition of restrictions in GPLv3?

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