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Re: TG3 firmware report...

On Mon, Oct 11, 2004 at 10:47:26AM -0500, John Hasler wrote:
> What do you mean by "legally"?  Copyright infringement is a tort, and there
> is no way they could win an infringement lawsuit against a distributor for
> failing to redistribute the source for the blobs when they did not supply
> it themselves and yet asserted that the work was under the GPL.

the terms of the gpl quite explicitly state that software must
be distributed with its source code, where source code is
defined as "the preferred form of the work for making modifications to
it" (and i somehow doubt that a binary blob is their preferred form,
but if they could successfully argue this point this is all m00t).  

unless we have the author's permission to use an alternate license,
wherein the bulk of the code went into contrib and the binary blob went
into non-free, or unless the author opened up the firmware, we're
unable to legally redistribute it, period.

On Mon, Oct 11, 2004 at 06:53:05PM +0100, Matthew Garrett wrote:
> That's only a risk if we ship it linked with the kernel. Shipping a
> single blob of hex in non-free shouldn't be a problem in that respect.

i do not believe that a piece of gpl'd code could legally link against
this blob.  if this were to be put under some system for loading
firmware in userland, i think it'd be up for debate; but
the lack of a usable Free alternative would make me think the
driver would still need to go in contrib at the least.

On Mon, Oct 11, 2004 at 04:53:10PM +0100, Scott James Remnant wrote:
> You can't violate your own licensing terms.  A licence is what an author
> gives to somebody to adjust the rights they have on a work.  The
> licensee is bound by the licence, not the author.

you're arguing my point.  debian is a licensee, and is not able to meet
with the terms of the license.

On Mon, Oct 11, 2004 at 05:26:38PM +0100, Henning Makholm wrote:
> The copyright holder cannot logically be in violation of his own
> licensing terms. He does not need a license at all to distribute his
> own work, thus there is nothing for *him* to violate.

this is true, but there is something for *us*...

On Mon, Oct 11, 2004 at 01:19:54PM -0500, John Hasler wrote:
> The intent implied by publically releasing a work under the GPL is well
> understood and widely known.  I don't believe that they would stand any
> chance of getting an injunction, let alone damages.

have you missed everything going on with SCO?  granted, their case was
a load of crap from the beginning, but it goes to show that this
is not something to be taken lightly.  and anyway, i don't think you'll
get very far trying to argue "implied intent" against the holder of a
copyright in a courtroom...



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