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Re: please release sarge instead of removing binary firmware

[-devel dropped]

On Fri, Apr 16, 2004 at 11:00:08AM +0200, Andreas Barth wrote:
> * Anthony Towns (aj@azure.humbug.org.au) [040416 10:25]:
> > Because when you have a compile-time dependency you create a derived
> > work -- vmlinuz -- of both the GPLed work and the firmware. Creating
> > derived works is an act covered by copyright, and can only be done with
> > the permission of the rights holder; and if the only permission you have
> > comes in the form of the GPL, then you're required to make available
> > the complete source to the entire derived work.
> It is not necessarily a derived work, but could also be just a
> collection of works. (And I consider this to be the case here.)

Collections of works are derived works; the GPL has a specific exemption
for collections made up of a derived work that's "merely aggregated"
with other works. I don't think it's reasonable to claim that you're
"merely aggregating" the works, when you encode the firmware in hex,
and stick it into an array in the source code -- that is, I don't just
think that's a questionable enough claim that it shouldn't be relied on,
but I think the opposite claim is strong enough that it could be.

As far as I can see, the argument that says firmware inserted into a
GPLed program isn't affected by the GPL because it's "mere aggregation"
would also have to apply to someone inserting GFDL'ed documentation
into a program too, or a non-modifiable image for an icon, or a host of
similar things.


Anthony Towns <aj@humbug.org.au> <http://azure.humbug.org.au/~aj/>
Don't assume I speak for anyone but myself. GPG signed mail preferred.

Protect Open Source in Australia from over-reaching changes to IP law
http://www.petitiononline.com/auftaip/ & http://www.linux.org.au/fta/

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