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Re: Kernel Firmware issue: are GPLed sourceless firmwares legal to distribute ?

On Wed, 4 Oct 2006 10:28:20 +0200 Sven Luther wrote:

> So, the RMs are making claims that those sourceless GPLed drivers
> don't cause any kind of distribution problem, while i strongly believe
> that the GPL clause saying that all the distribution rights under the
> GPL are lost if you cannot abide by all points, including the
> requirement for sources.

AFAIK, you are right: sourceless GPLv2'd works cannot legally be
The reason is that if you do so, you are not complying with section 3.
of GPLv2: you cannot accompany the binary with what you do not have
available (3a), you cannot issue an offer to give what you do not have
available (3b) and you do not have any offer to pass on noncommercially

Of course some copyright holders could well mean to grant anyone
permission to redistribute and messed up with licenses out of ignorance.
But other ones could have set this up as a trap to have the possibility
to sue at whim...
Hence, the situation should be clarified with the respective copyright
holders (rather than ignored).  Possible resolutions, in decreasing
order of desirability:
* the copyright holder releases the actual source code and everyone gets
  happy  ;-)
* some heroic hackers develop a DFSG-free replacement and Debian
  switches to that masterpiece
* the copyright holder relicenses the work under a license that doesn't
  mandate source availability and the work is moved to the non-free
* Debian stops distributing the sourceless GPL'd work

The usual disclaimers: IANAL, IANADD.

But it is also tradition that times *must* and always
do change, my friend.   -- from _Coming to America_
..................................................... Francesco Poli .
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