From time to time, we get questions from users who are surprised to see some individuals or companies selling GIMP from their web site or as part of an auction. Sometimes the software is advertised as being GIMP but in some cases there is no mention of the fact that what is sold is GIMP, and GIMP is Free Software. This page tries to answer some of these questions and provides suggestions for those who would like to sell GIMP.
Yes. The terms and conditions for copying, distribution and modification of GIMP are clearly listed in the GNU General Public License. Redistribution for free or for profit is specifically allowed, as long as the license is included and the source code is made available. See also Selling Free Software on the FSF site.
Besides the rights and conditions given by the GPL, it would also be nice (but not required) to mention in any advertising that the product being sold is GIMP (or a bundle including GIMP) or is derived from it.
We are no lawyers, but there are clearly some cases where vendors are bordering on illegality (sometimes even clearly illegal). We encountered many such cases across the years. If you do too, you would be right to contact the vendor first. Maybe they didn’t do it maliciously and will be happy to comply swiftly.
If the vendors do not react positively, contacting the selling platform might be the next right step. Unfortunately some platforms are happy to ignore their customers, but if enough people complain, they may react.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of problematic cases:
No. The GIMP developers are not associated with the companies selling copies of GIMP. We may be in contact with some of them from time to time when they contribute some improvements to GIMP. Some of them have also made donations to the GIMP developers (sponsoring for the GIMP developers’ conference). But none of the developers has direct financial interest in these companies.
Unfortunately, some companies selling GIMP do not always mention in their advertising the origin of this software. In particular, they don’t mention the licensing or that the software that they are selling can also be obtained for free. Sometimes GIMP is combined with additional software or artwork that adds value to the package, but sometimes what you get is not much more than what could otherwise be downloaded for free. If you have purchased such a copy of GIMP and you feel cheated, then you should complain to the vendor.
However, if the vendor did not make the complete corresponding source code for their version of GIMP available to you as required by the GPL, then the vendor may have violated the license and may be liable for copyright infringment. Please try to clarify the situation with the vendor before reporting any GPL violation to the GIMP developers. In any case, you should refrain from making public statements about the potential GPL violation before you have contacted the vendor. Notifying the developers too early of making public statements about the potential GPL violation may limit the legal options available to the developers (copyright owners).
We do not sell GIMP from this web site. We provide it free-of-charge on our download page for several platforms. Other platforms for which we don’t create builds often have their own distribution methods with their third-party GIMP package.
If you believe our work deserves to be funded, we welcome donations. This helps us improving GIMP further and is our alternative to “buying” the program.
If you or your company intend to sell GIMP, it would be nice to follow these guidelines:
Finally, think about giving something back. If the software created by many volunteers helps your business, it would be nice to return the favor by helping the developers. You can contribute by sending some improvements to the code or by sponsoring some events such as the GIMP developer’s conference. This is not required, but happy developers are more likely to create a better product that you can sell later…