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Re: Bug#628952: minidlna: Possible unknown copyright status of hardcoded image blobs in source code

On Mon, 6 Jun 2011 11:34:34 +0200 Benoît Knecht wrote:

> Francesco Poli wrote:
> > > While the source code is licensed under GPL2, the file in question only
> > > states following:
> > > 
> > >  * Penguin images are the creation of Larry Ewing (lewing@isc.tamu.edu) using The GIMP.
> > 
> > More information about the famous Tux the Penguin image here:
> > http://www.isc.tamu.edu/~lewing/linux/
> > (I'm assuming we are talking about this image, right?)
> > 
> > Unfortunately the "license" is very incomplete and unclear:
> > 
> > | Feel free to do whatever you see fit with the images, you are
> > | encouraged to integrate them into other designs that fit your need.
> > [...]
> > | Permission to use and/or modify this image is granted provided
> > | you acknowledge me lewing@isc.tamu.edu and The GIMP if someone asks.
> I agree that's rather vague, especially regarding commercial use,

Commercial use is not explicitly mentioned, but it is not even
explicitly prohibited: it says that "use" is permitted, without further
specifying, hence I think commercial use is indeed allowed, at least in
the copyright holder's intentions.

My personal opinion is that the most serious issue of this "license" is
the lack of explicit permission to copy and (re-)distribute the original
image and/or a modified version of it.
Without those permissions, copyright laws say by default that you are
not allowed to perform such operations (unless you are the copyright
holder, of course).

> although commons.wikimedia.org [1] seems to consider it free enough.
> [1] http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tux.png

Free enough for what?
For uploading the image to Wikipedia?
There are lots of non-free images on Wikipedia, even covers of
proprietary music albums [2][3][4]...

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Iron_Maiden_(album)_cover.jpg
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Metallica_-_Kill_%27Em_All.jpg
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Scream_Bloody_Gore.jpg

And anyway, the page [1] you cited says:

| Please check that the conditions given above are compliant to
| the Commons licensing policy. Most importantly, derivative work
| and commercial use must be allowed.

So, in summary, I am not sure what "free enough for Wikimedia"
should mean.

> > I tried (back in 2005) to get in touch with Larry Ewing and persuade
> > him that a clearer license should be granted, but I have never received
> > any reply to my messages...
> > You may try to contact him now: it's possible that you turn out to be
> > luckier than me!
> > According to
> > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Ewing
> > his current home page is:
> > http://lewing.org/
> > Maybe the e-mail address shown there is more up-to-date or
> > appropriate...
> Well I could try, but I'm not very optimistic about it (I guess it's not
> the first time the issue was brought up to Larry Ewing's attention, and
> apparently no one was successful so far). I'm thinking the best solution
> for now is to replace the logo altogether. In Debian we could use the
> Debian logo,

In that case, please use the Debian Open Use Logo without the "Debian"
text [5], which is (unfortunately) the only DFSG-free logo that the
Debian Project offers. It is released under the terms of the Expat
license (see [6]).

[5] http://www.debian.org/logos/openlogo-nd.svg
[6] http://www.debian.org/logos/

> but I don't know what free image to suggest as a
> replacement upstream. Any suggestions?

I don't know: maybe the levitating GNU [7] (which is dual-licensed under
the GNU GPL v3 or later, and under the horrible GNU FDL v1.1 or later)?
But, please recall that GPLv3 and GPLv2 are incompatible with each

[7] http://www.gnu.org/graphics/meditate.html

> > >  * NETGEAR images Copyright (c) 2008- NETGEAR, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
> > > 
> > > It doesn't explicit state which licenses these binary blobs are under
> > > (there are four of each, two png and two jpeg). Only the tux image is
> > > used in the binary package.
> > 
> > If this is confirmed, then I think the best thing to do is dropping the
> > NETGEAR images from the source package, and trying to get a
> > GPL-compatible license for the Tux images (I suggest a simple
> > permissive non-copyleft license: the Expat one,
> > http://www.jclark.com/xml/copying.txt ). 
> I had a look at these, and I'm pretty sure they're not eligible for
> copyright protection (a white 'N' on a blue background is not nearly
> creative enough).

I would not be so fast in claiming that a work (especially a graphical
image) is not creative enough to be covered by copyright...

> So I don't think there's a problem there; the license
> header should just be corrected to state that there's no copyright on
> this particular logo. What do you think?

If those images are not used in the binary package, I still think they
should be dropped from source package.

 New GnuPG key, see the transition document!
..................................................... Francesco Poli .
 GnuPG key fpr == CA01 1147 9CD2 EFDF FB82  3925 3E1C 27E1 1F69 BFFE

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