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

On 10/6/06, MJ Ray <mjr@phonecoop.coop> wrote:
I'd defer to Larry Doolittle on this one, but I think unless we have
some reason to think there is another form used as source code, it's
fine to consider the only codes our source code - for all we know, it
was written that way.  Best of all would be to get clarifications of
what type each firmware is, but I doubt that's easy in all cases.

However, if we strongly suspect that we don't have a valid permission
to modify, distribute and so on, run a mile.

I'd like to note a message[1] by Frank Küster concerning this on
debian-vote which wasn't posted to debian-legal. A quote from that
: In making the list, I left off all cases where I had any doubt.
: I am not perfect, but I have plenty of experience using and writing
: firmware of many kinds.  I would be very surprised if any of the
: listed firmware is not derived from a human-legible design file of
: one form or another.
: So while it is perhaps a polite excuse that "we don't know for sure
: if these thousands of bytes of hex code were ever compiled from source",
: no sane person would bet against it.

(And my answer[2] was that IMHO it's not "a polite excuse" but "a
blatant attempt to knowingly violate the copyright law without
actually admitting the violation".)

[1] http://lists.debian.org/debian-vote/2006/10/msg00090.html
[2] http://lists.debian.org/debian-vote/2006/10/msg00102.html

Markus Laire

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