[sword-devel] CDEarth GPL violation

Chris Little chrislit at crosswire.org
Wed Mar 26 15:32:05 MST 2008

I went ahead and ordered the two Sword-related CDs from CDEarth to check 
whether they are in compliance with the GPL. They actually are not, at 
least when it comes to the CD with The SWORD Project for Windows and 
MacSword. (The Bible Desktop/JSword CD might be okay, since they include 
source for both.)

The CD includes The Sword Project for Windows (1.5.8), MacSword (1.2.1), 
a small handful of mostly outdated modules (with separate copies for 
each of the above), the Windows Help file, some auto-run type stuff, and 
source code for Sword 1.5.8 and 1.5.9.

1) It's all annoyingly outdated.
2) There's a bit of fraudulence in stating that it comes with a network 
module installer since, for the Mac at least, it does not.
3) There's no mention anywhere of what the software is or the license 
until you run the installer.
4) The little slip of paper that comes with it, like the website, makes 
mention that "[t]hrough our special licensing arrangement and because we 
publish our software directly to you, each trial CD is only USD$14.99 
(which as you know is up to 80% off the store price for similar 
products)." I suspect this is itself in violation of the GPL. I don't 
believe there is any recourse for revocation of a license from end-users 
like the term "trial" implies. I also don't know that the whole 
try-for-25-days-then-we-bill-you concept is quite kosher with the GPL. 
It might require some pretty close reading of the license.

But most importantly:
5) There's no source code, nor an offer for source code, for The SWORD 
Project for Windows or MacSword. So, we're actually and legitimately in 
a position where we can demand removal, DMCA takedown by the ISP, all 
that good stuff.

I'm going to mail back my two "trial" CDs tomorrow and we'll see whether 
they try to ding the credit card for $29.98 anyway. (It's a gift card 
with $0.70 remaining, so I'm not concerned about losing any money, but I 
wouldn't mind alerting the FTC if they try to do another charge.)


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