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Re: non-free firmware in kernel modules, aggregation and unclear copyright notice.

On Tue, Apr 05, 2005 at 12:50:14PM -0600, Chris Friesen wrote:
> Josselin Mouette wrote:
> >The fact is also that mixing them with a GPLed software gives
> >an result you can't redistribute - although it seems many people
> >disagree with that assertion now.
> This is only true if the result is considered a "derivative work" of the 
> gpl'd code.
> The GPL states "In addition, mere aggregation of another work not based 
> on the Program with the Program (or with a work based on the Program) on 
> a volume of a storage or distribution medium does not bring the other 
> work under the scope of this License."
> Since the main cpu does not actually run the binary firmware, the fact 
> that it lives in main memory with the code that the cpu *does* run is 
> irrelevent.  In this case, the Debian stance is that the kernel proper 
> and the binary firmware are "merely aggregated" in a volume of storage ( 
> ie. system memory).

The problem is that you can only argue it is mere agregation, if the copyright
notice doesn't de-facto put said firmware blobs under the GPL, thus making
them undistributable by the selfsame definition of the GPL.


Sven Luther

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