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Re: Debian GNU/Linux license violation

Quoting in full for benefit of board etc.

Apologies for missing this, it seemed to get filed away in a different

SPI can certainly litigate against the misuse of the Debian trademark.
Licence violations etc may be more interesting.

If the project wishes (hence the CC: to leader@), we can approach Greg,
the current SPI lawyer about this.


On Wed, Sep 05, 2007 at 06:41:13PM -0400, Branden Robinson wrote:
> On Tue, Sep 04, 2007 at 08:35:26AM -0700, Gomi No Sensei wrote:
> >    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> >    From: Gomi No Sensei <[1]gomi.no.sensei@gmail.com>
> >    Date: Sep 4, 2007 8:33 AM
> >    Subject: Fwd: PhotoVu Inquiry: 48889582 - 17" Frame, Open-source
> >    To: [2]license-violation@gpl-violations.org
> > 
> >    The following email is self-explanatory.  The device sold at
> >    [3]www.photovu.com is based on a modified Debian, but the company will not
> >    disclose the source.
> > 
> >    The quote is: "We will never have an open platform as we do not have the
> >    resources to support such an open product in the field. It's not that we
> >    wouldn't like to, as we believe in open source and in fact use a
> >    customized base debian distribution with the addition of all our custom
> >    software on top. .... The last reason is why we weld our units shut and
> >    the aluminum metal must be cut and drilled to open it up!"
> PhotoVu does *not* have to release source code of works they release in
> binary form to any third party *unless* they fail to accompany their
> digital photo frames with the corresponding code on a medium customarily
> used for software interchange.  I am quoting the requirements of section
> 2b) of version 2 of the GPL[1].  (I am also assuming that the code PhotoVu
> is using is not so fresh that it has any portions licensed GPL version 3.)
> The GPL also does not require the vendor to *tell* you if their product
> ships with corresponding source code, though if they deceive you and you
> are a U.S. resident, you may recourse to the consumer protection laws of
> your state, or the state of Colorado, where PhotoVu claims to be
> incorporated[2].
> Given the tone of the email, I suspect they don't provide complete
> corresponding source code as required by section 2b of the GPL2, and since
> they have refused you in your capacity as "any third party" that source
> code at any price (section 2c), I find reason to pursue a potential license
> violation here.
> The best way to find out is to find a PhotoVu customer ask learn from them
> if they received either the complete corresponding source code on a DVD-ROM
> or other medium (2b) or a written offer, valid for three years for the same
> (2c).
> To follow-up on something Gunnar Wolf said:
> While (to the best of my knowledge) Software in the Public Interest, Inc.,
> is not a copyright holder in any portion of Debian GNU/Linux, this is still
> a matter worth bringing to SPI's attention.  SPI owns certain U.S.
> trademarks, and it is conceivable that retaining trademarked Debian logos
> in a derived product while not honoring the copyright licenses on the
> software comprising Debian GNU/Linux gives rise to a civil cause of action
> against PhotoVu.
> Accordingly, I am CCing the SPI Board of Directors.
> A courteous letter from SPI's counsel setting out these issues may be all
> that is required to achieve PhotoVu's compliance.  Bradley Kuhn and Eben
> Moglen have frequently counseled tact and patience when pursuing apparent
> GPL violations.  Assume ignorance or misunderstanding until and unless that
> assumption is unsustainable.
> [1] http://www.gnu.org/licenses/old-licenses/gpl-2.0.txt
> [2] http://www.photovu.com/bio.html
> In case it gets changed, I quote:
>     PhotoVu custom manufactures each digital picture frame at their
>     Boulder, Colorado facilities, using the finest individually made wood
>     frames and matboards, coupled with brand new electronic components,
>     resulting in a truly one-of-a-kind product.  Customers can also order a
>     custom tailored frame and mat to match a given décor.
>     PhotoVu, LLC is a privately held and privately financed company
>     registered in the state of Colorado.
> -- 
> G. Branden Robinson                |    The basic test of freedom is
> Debian GNU/Linux                   |    perhaps less in what we are free to
> branden@debian.org                 |    do than in what we are free not to
> http://people.debian.org/~branden/ |    do.                  -- Eric Hoffer

Neil McGovern
Secretary, Software in the Public Interest, Inc.

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