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Re: [AMENDMENT]: Release Etch now, with source-less but legal and freely licensed firmware

On Fri, 06 Oct 2006, Frans Pop wrote:
> My, just as amateurish, standpoint is: the preferred from of
> modification of code for firmware blobs included in a driver that is
> otherwise coded in C (or assembler or whatnot) - and for that matter
> for images, video and even documentation - is whatever the
> licenceholder chose to distribute it as.

This is not the case. A trivial counter example is the distribution of
a binary object which is statically linked to (or otherwise in
combination forms a derivative work of) a GPLed codebase, where the
copyright holder of the binary object does not (completely) control
the copyright of the GPLed codebase.

Unless the binary object is actually the prefered form for
modification, anyone who distributes the work does so in violation of
the GPL (or possible future violation if distributed under 3b). Any
copyright holder of the GPLed codebase (or for that matter, any
recepient of the work) can demand the source code to the binary
object. If we as distributors are unable to provide it, we (or our
mirror operators) could be held liable.

If you have specific questions about what the GPL says and means,
please contact licensing@fsf.org to clarify it before putting the
archive in a position which is legally hazardous.

Don Armstrong

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired
signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are
not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is
not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers,
the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a
way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is
humanity hanging on a cross of iron.
 -- Dwight Eisenhower, April 16, 1953

http://www.donarmstrong.com              http://rzlab.ucr.edu

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