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Re: The bigger issue is badly licensed blobs (was Re: Firmware poll

* Toni Mueller <toni@debian.org> [060830 17:40]:
> I'm not a lawyer, but my take on this is that if someone ships you a
> BLOB under the GPL, you have the legal right to demand sources from
> him.

I think only copyright holders can demand something. If you distribute
something only created by you and nothing else together with it, you
can put it under GPL without giving the source. (Which is just a
more deceiptfull variant to say "You may distribute, copy and/or modify
this software after you have painted the moon green with red stripes").

Things get more tricky when things are combined to some larger thing
where the copyright holder of some part has only the right to copy and
distribute another part if he bundles it with sources to the whole.
Then the owner of this other part could ask this one to fullfill the
license and also give you source to the first part. (Or he could
ask him to buy another license to his part that does not include a
source condition).

The even more complicated point is finaly whether the GPL states (in
the eye of an court) if a kernel under GPL means every blob included 
is enough part of some work the kernel is. (Note that if not one would
still need some extra permission to copy and distribute the blobs, as
GPL without source is as non-free a license as a single "all rights
reserved"). This question was never to be decided by a judge in any
country, so we can not no for sure and people are of different opinion
how likely which outcome is. But noone can claim to be anywhere near
sure which option will win, so putting al Debian users as risk is no
way to go. (Especially given the enourmous amount of copyright holders
in the Linux kernel, all being able to sue. And even if one country
decides the one way, the judical system in the next might decide the
other way)

IANAL and so on,
	Bernhard R. Link

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