Under the GPL license used by SuperCollider, is it permissible to distribute and sell a closed source mobile app with a non-GPL license, which relies on a web server running an instance of the SC server to process user audio files?
For example, if Mobile App A is not developed with SuperCollider, but it transmits user audio files to Web Server B running an instance of the SC Server to process the audio files and send it back to Mobile App A, does this mean that Mobile App A needs to be released under the GPL license?
My assumption in this case is that Mobile App A would not be required to be released under the GPL since it’s a separate program from the SC Server process running on the remote Web Server B, and only audio files (and maybe some OSC data for parameter settings) are being transferred between the two.
But I’m unsure if I’m correct in this assumption.
I looked around the SC forum and mailing list but am having a hard time finding a definitive answer. I did find this older post, which seems to indicate a closed-source application might avoid inheriting the GPL license if it communicates with an unmodified version of SC via OSC and audio interface alone (but not in the case of working with a modified version of SC code):
On Mon, Sep 16, 2019 at 3:11 AM josh@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
I feel like SC, when reacting to OSC messages, has never been an area of debate. We are concerned with making sure any changes or use of our source code are contributed back or correctly used.
If anyone disagrees with me, I think we can certainly discuss more, but while GPL tends to be contagious with other source code it touches, I don’t think network protocols and communication fall under that guideline.
I also looked through the GPL License FAQ on GNU’s website, but didn’t find a clear cut answer to this question.
This answer, indicates the output of a GPL program (e.g. processed audio output from an SC process), does not of course inherit the GPL license requirement.
And this answer distinguishes when a program and “plug-in” are considered a single combined program or not (and based on this, it sounds like the scenario I laid out is analogous and could be interpreted as not being one combined program - thus avoiding the requirement for the closed-source app that transmits audio to the GPLed process to be released under a GPL).
But I’d be curious to hear if anyone else out there knows the answer to this question, or has any insight. Thank you!