Does managed hosting constitute conveyance?

jteichma's picture

Hi! I read the FAQ and found a post that is a similar case to ours but just wanted to confirm.

My question is simply does managed hosting constitute conveyance? I imagine a lot of folks will have similar questions as computing moves more toward a virtual and cloud hosting context.

In our case, we host our own Drupal instance, which contains custom modules and theme extensions we developed to meet the specific needs of our audience. We plan to release parts of the work we have developed to the open source community, but on a schedule we can support.

We host out of our own data center, but have a need to host in China so we are investigating managed hosting services. Given that the managed hosting service will be funded and operated entirely on our behalf, I think according to GPL3 that is not considered a distribution. Is that a correct interpretation?

In the post there is a similar question proposed where the client rents a server from the SASS but physically locates the server in their own premises behind their own firewall etc... It seems like a similar case, and the feedback was to engage with Free Software-savvy attorney and work into the contract the specifics of whether it constitutes conveyance.

Just checking does that advice apply here as well.

Many thanks.



Crell's picture

If by "same advise" you mean "engage with a Free Software-savvy attorney". :-)

If I understand what you're saying, then I think it doesn't count as conveyance. That is, hosting a Drupal site on a server or VPS rented from a hosting service does not count as distributing/conveying the software to that hosting service, at least as far as triggering the GPL's requirements. I would recommend verifying that with an attorney, however. (I'd be curious to know what your attorney says and if it aligns with what I understand from other attorneys.)


jteichma's picture

Yes, and by "the same advice" I meant also that we should build language into the contract with the 3rd party managed host that having them host on our behalf does not constitute conveyance of the code. Make sense? Thanks.

You get something from them,

mot's picture

You get something from them, not they from you. You buy the managed hosting service. They don't buy software distribution from you nor do they use your server with the software on it. How could that be conveyance?