Re: Lawyer request stop from downloading Debian
On Sun, 24 Apr 2011, Michael Wild wrote:
problem is that on Bittorrent, everyone who downloads also uploads. This
makes it illegal to download just a binary, since if you do that you're
also uploading just a binary, and uploading just a binary is a form of
distribution the GPL doesn't allow.
As absurd as this argumentation sounds to me (but then I'm a mere
engineer and find matters of law often to be very confusing), following
it makes the Debian project a direct accomplice in copyright violation,
see http://www.debian.org/CD/torrent-cd. By providing these torrents,
the Debian project makes everybody in Germany who uses them a copyright
It makes everyone who uses it everywhere a copyright violator, it's just that
only in Germany can a third party demand money for the violation.
The GPLV2 just wasn't written with torrents in mind (since it was created
before torrents). This was a real enough problem that the FSF had to fix
it for GPLV3. "Ancillary propagation of a covered work occurring solely as a
consequence of using peer-to-peer transmission to receive a copy likewise does
not require acceptance."
Realistically, of course, this German lawyer probably picked Debian at random,
and has no idea that it's free to distribute. The fact that he picked an
obscure case where, on a technicality, he's right is just a coincidence and
he knows nothing about Debian, the GPL, or torrenting. So (despite what
I may have suggested before) telling him not to do this may have some effect.
Also, I don't know German law, so I don't know if there are any limits on
German law that Debian might be able to point to (such as whether he can ask
for damages for something that's free).