I have a project which uses yolov5. I modified the yolov5 and implemented it into my own project (I don't just use the modified version of yolov5 as project. It is just a part of my project.). I read the GPL3-0 license but it contains a lot of terms so that I couldn't fully understand it. Can i sell this project as a product and earn money, is this legal?

  • 2
    Do you plan to also release the source code to your product? Commented Jul 21, 2022 at 15:43
  • It would have been helpful to include a link to the text of the GPL3-0 license. Commented Jul 21, 2022 at 17:44
  • I'm not planning to release the source code of my project.
    – Ali Eren
    Commented Jul 21, 2022 at 19:56
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    @AliErenAltındağ the GPL will require you to release the source of at least the part that's directly derived from YOLOv5, and likely your entire project. That's really the whole point of the GPL.
    – Someone
    Commented Jul 21, 2022 at 22:02
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    It's basically designed to prevent what you're trying to do.
    – Someone
    Commented Jul 21, 2022 at 22:03

2 Answers 2


Yes, the GPL v3 (like all free/libre/open source software licenses) allows you to sell derivative works (or unmodified versions). However, it is a copyleft license, so you must release your derivative work (and possible your entire product) as FLOSS under the same license. You should talk to a lawyer about this to determine what does and what doesn't need to be GPL'ed, unless you want to make your entire codebase FLOSS.

  • If I'm gonna FLOSS my entire project, what's the point of selling it?
    – Ali Eren
    Commented Jul 21, 2022 at 16:52
  • @AliErenAltındağ you might not have to FLOSS everything; that's why you should talk to a lawyer.
    – Someone
    Commented Jul 21, 2022 at 17:33
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    Also, there might still be ways to make money. Who is the target audience of your program? If it's businesses, you might be able to sell warranties and/or commercial support; anyone could use the software, but the GPL, in the absence of a separate agreement to the contrary, disclaims liability and does not require you to provide support.
    – Someone
    Commented Jul 21, 2022 at 17:41
  • @AliErenAltındağ Indeed, classic monetization schemes don't mesh well with Open Source software. But if you want to benefit from GPL-covered material, you will have to give others the same opportunity to benefit from your software. No one is forcing you to use this Open Source software. That's a business decision you can make. Perhaps it is a better business decision to avoid this particular software.
    – amon
    Commented Jul 21, 2022 at 21:47

The rules are simple: When you ship the software, you must ship it together with the GPL license. You are allowed to do the following:

  1. Sell the software together with the GPL license, for any amount of money that someone is willing to pay you.

  2. Charge reasonable cost for providing the source code if someone asks you for it.

  3. You are not allowed to charge for the GPL license itself. You must provide that at no cost.

As "Someone" commented elsewhere, if you sell software to businesses, they would legally be allowed to hand the software for free to a competitor, but as a business, you don't give your competitors anything of value for free. So you can likely sell to competitors as well.

  • Yes, and (if your contracts are written well) warranties and support guarantees won't be transferrable, so if you sell those, each company/user will have to buy separate ones even if they want to share.
    – Someone
    Commented Jul 21, 2022 at 18:44
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    What do you mean by saying "you don't give your competitors anything of value for free"?
    – Ali Eren
    Commented Jul 21, 2022 at 20:02
  • As I understood, I can sell my project to a company for any amount of money but when they buy the project, they have a right to share it with other companies. Is it right?
    – Ali Eren
    Commented Jul 21, 2022 at 20:04
  • @AliErenAltındağ As a rule, businesses don't want to give away software they've purchased, even if they have the right to, because it helps their competitors and does not benefit them in any way. As you said, the GPL does not require you to give your software to anyone who wants it; it simply requires that you give users (who could be businesses) the same rights to use, modify, distribute, etc. the software that the upstream developers gave you. If you sell your GPLed software to a business, they have the legal right to give it to a competitor, publish it online, etc., possibly in modified...
    – Someone
    Commented Jul 21, 2022 at 21:58
  • ...form, but it is unlikely that they will do so, because it would not be in their best interests economically. The bigger concern is likely that they would make a derivative of your program and sell their derivative, in which case they do not need to pay you anything beyond the original purchase price of the software which they already paid. If your customers are not in the software industry, they probably won't do this, but they legally could. Of course, as mentioned earlier, they would not be able to transfer any warranties or support agreements they purchased from you separately.
    – Someone
    Commented Jul 21, 2022 at 22:01

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