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Firmware files - GPL compliant?

I am going to package the DVB driver for Siemens-based cards.
Unfortunately, this cards does not have a ROM onboard so the firmware
must be loaded using the driver.

The company which created the firmware has released their Linux drivers
under the GPL and included the binary firmware files in the package.
During the build, the a hexdump of the binaries is stored in a structure
and compiled into the the driver.

But how does this comply with the GPL? As far as I can see, the kernel
guys have been doing this for a while (see below) and the kernel is
still GPLed.

Imagine, someone decompiles the firmware, assuming the GPL gives him the
right to do so - is this legal?

>From my point of view, this files are just data files, companions of the
driver, but not affected with the restrictions of the GPL since they
have nothing to do with the Linux code.

ls -lR /usr/src/linux-2.4.9/ | grep firm
-rw-r--r--    1 inet     private      1802 22. Feb 2000  fore200e_firmware_copyright
-rw-r--r--    1 inet     private      3288 20. Jun 20:10 fore200e_mkfirm.c
-rw-r--r--    1 inet     private    173787 24. Apr 2000  fip_firm.h
-rw-r--r--    1 inet     private    430641  2. Mai 07:03 acenic_firmware.h
-rw-r--r--    1 inet     private    359166  7. Mär 2001  dgrs_firmware.c
-rw-r--r--    1 inet     private     55048 16. Mai 19:31 smctr_firmware.h
-rw-r--r--    1 inet     private      1619  9. Feb 2001  sound_firmware.c
-rw-r--r--    1 inet     private        58 29. Nov 1997  sound_firmware.h
-rw-r--r--    1 inet     private    101773 24. Jan 2000  dabfirmware.h

Der Wahnsinn hat Methode!

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