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How long is it acceptable to leave *undistributable* files in the kernel package?

Such inclusion exposes Debian to legal liability, right?

I ask because such a file is present in Debian's Linux kernel sources and
there seems to have been no attempt to remove it, despite the upload of
new versions since the bug report.


 * The firmware contained herein is Copyright (c) 1999-2002 Emagic
 * as an unpublished work. This notice does not imply unrestricted
 * or public access to this firmware which is a trade secret of Emagic,
 * and which may not be reproduced, used, sold or transferred to
 * any third party without Emagic's written consent. All Rights Reserved.

This is the subject of bug #242895, which was (incorrectly) merged with
other bugs.

(There are a large number of other "firmware" files with no explicit license
from the copyright holder at all, which *also* means, under copyright law,
no permission to distribute.  This is the most extreme case because it
explicitly states that there is no permission to distribute.  :-P )

Forget, for now, the issues of DFSG-freenesss and GPL-compatibility.  Is
it sane for Debian to be distributing copyrighted code without permission,
even if kernel.org does?

I request that the people planning to take over kernel maintenance comment
ASAP on their plans regarding this issue, and what sort of help would be

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

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