The Master of Geeks

Zinwell ZMT-620HD GPLv2 Licence Violation

By Craig Whitmore, in , posted: 1-Jul-2008 21:36

Update 3/4/2010:

Update : Zinwell have released in the last 2 weeks the source code for the GPL Parts of the Zinwell 620HD and Zinwell 640PVR. They can be download @

Note: this does not match the firmware on the NZ Units as far as I can tell so they fail... and they still don't include an offer to supply this software with the unit which is against the GPL as well.


Companies these days have to realise that if they want to use software they have to follow the rules. Most people would not pirate software as its copyrighted so why not follow the rules when using a product which includes a simple Licence to use it.

A certain type of licence is called a GPL (General Public Licence) and alot of software is produced under this licence including the Linux Kernel. But some companies don't follow this Licence and break this GPL. IMHO this should be treated just like any other copyright infrigement..

Copy of GPLv2 Licence - gpl-2.0.txt

The GPL basically says if you are using the software then you must (apart from other things)
- include the GPL Licence with the product
- offer the source code for the software

And this is the problem.. Zinwell/DSE/Others don't...

Product: ZMT-620HD - DVB-T Set Top Box
Information: Sold in New Zealand non-branded via many retailers and branded via Dick Smiths (

Problem: Includes GPLv2 Software but doesn't include GPLv2 Licence or offers the source code. This means they are breaking the GPLv2 Licence thus breaking copyright.

The Zinwell 620HD includes the following GPL Software

Linux Kernel - Linux version 2.6.12-4.0-brcmstb build version 2612-4.0 ( (gcc version 3.4.6) #30 Thu Jun 14 15:08:03 CST 2007
Busybox - BusyBox v1.2.1 (2007.04.18-10:43+0000) multi-call binary

See output from boot: boot.txt

Supplied Manual (DSE Branded)
Supplied Manual (Non Branded Zinwell Version)

Have Contacted:

Zinwell (,, - No reply
Dick Smith Electronics ( - Replied saying they are contacting zinwell..

1st reply

Thank you for your query. Please be advised that Dick Smith Electronics
do not have the source code for the FreeView receivers and this is the
responsibility of the manufacturer. The manufacturer in this case is
Zinwell so please contact them with your request. We will forward on
your request to Zinwell as well, for them to respond.

Another Reply:


All I have been given the website where
there is a 'Contact Us' link at the top right.

No-one has been able to supply any email addresses to me to be able to
pass on.

You could always try the standard
'' or
' format and see if that produces
any results.

Sorry that we can't help you better with your queries, but we appear to
be limited in the information that we can obtain.

BusyBox ( - Got a reply saying they are interested in taking it further. Waiting on more info..
GPL Violations Mailing List ( - On going discussion on mail list.
Freeview New Zealand - No Reply
Next Electronics (Distributor within NZ) - No Reply (Listed as owner/tech of - No Reply (Email on the broken contact form of go to this email address) - No Reply - Replied and says cannot help apart from forwarding it to River @ Zinwell - No Reply (River Chiang) - No Reply

Also have contacted the below about GPLv2 Inforcement/Information/Status:

NZOSS (The New Zealand Open Source Society) - Have replied..
Copyright Council of New Zealand - Replied saying they cannot help??
Ministry of Economic Development (They look after/enforce copyright law in NZ) - No reply

Things to do...(maybe)

Seems that the Greens have a strong open source policy (

"In addition, the Green Party advocates the use of Open Source software where practical, as a means
of making technology available to as many New Zealanders as possible while encouraging indigenous
solutions to local problems."

Nandor Tanczos is a great believer of Open Source Software (
Contact the Media


So if you want to help email me at or leave a message for me here.

07/09/2009 Update: Heard from Busybox saying they are interested in taking it further... (yayaya)
02/07/2008 Update: I have been in contact with some of the parties involved and they are bringing it up to higher levels.
04/07/2008 Update: DSE have contacted me again and all they can give me is a website contact form which does not work
04/07/2008 Update: Listed More Contacts I have found to get in touch with someone who can comment/help
11/07/2008 Update: Emailed Zinwell Again (to all the email addresses I have for them)
23/07/2009 Update: Emailed and Kevin Colley (email address removed on request)
13/07/2009 Update: Reply from Neil Smith saying can't help apart from Forward to River Chiang @ Zinwell

Comment by tonyhughes, on 2-Jul-2008 08:31

Not only do you need a breach, you need a licence holder who is willing/able (or an authorised 3rd party on their behalf) to pursue the case...

Comment by Don Christie, on 2-Jul-2008 10:05


Please subscribe to the NZOSS open chat list (details on our web site) where there has been discussion about this issue. Sorry, your enquiry came through a website form and our reply did not go out to you.

Andrew Turner made this observation when the topic first came up:

"The first step should be for him to contact the Software Freedom Law Center as they enforce the BusyBox US copyright and coordinate international enforcement[1].


[1] under License enforcement"



Comment by diogratia, on 2-Jul-2008 12:04

You could contact Jim Garrison at the SFLC to verify your information has been received through your email to I'd imagine they have more business then the can handle expeditiously.

After dobbing someone in, you might find yourself with a new hobby, searching for signs of movement torwards compliance.
The SFLC acting in their clients interests might not be able to keep you aprised of any activity arising from your information.

Comment by Details, on 7-May-2009 10:30

Neil Smith (Zinwell Australia director) email address:

Kevin Colley (Next Electronics Director) email address:

Comment by James, on 30-Sep-2010 22:09

Any chance of removing the listed name and email address of our Director at Next Group? We believe that there could be grounds for a breach of the privacy act. We would stress that we would like to protect his rights.

Thank you

Admin Comment: His position and name are very public (just search for his name on google) and I got his email address from a third party. I have removed his email address from here.

He (and no one else with repeat emails ) would answer my questions (or even reply or acknowledge them ) and I still believe next (as the distributor of the product) still is in violation of the GPL Licence.

Maybe you want to comment on Next's GPL Violation of the GPL of this product for many years?  I started trying to contact people over 2 years ago.