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Topic # 23525 1-Jul-2008 22:10
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Over the last month a few geeks on dtvforum have found out that the Zinwell 620HD (DVB-T device which is sold in thousands around New Zealand for Freeview HD reception)  includes GPL software including the Linux Kernel and BusyBox

I am blogging my experience in getting companies to actually follow the GPL Licence. Myself I have code I have written (and 1000's of others do as well) which is actually in the Linux Kernel and I don't see why companies should just ignore the rules and not do what they should.

You can see so far what I have been up to so far.....

http://www.geekzone.co.nz/LennonNZ/5305

Any help would be great. Any comments from anyone (Lawyers as well) would be great.

As you can see I am not getting very far _yet_ but I hope to get very far and make Zinwell (and DSE who have rebadged it under their own name and those who sell it unbadged)  correctly follow the GPL rules for the products they sell.


- Craig

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  Reply # 142066 1-Jul-2008 22:48
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To help us understand better; your 2 main concerns are:

1. that they are not distributing the GPL licencse with the box.

Fair enough that's not on.


2.They don't provide source for packages used in the product such as Linux Kernel and busybox

Ok but source for these packages is freely available from their respective websites. Or are you saying that they have modified source recompiled and re-distributed these packages with out providing (or making available the modified source). If that's the case that's very dodgy!

It's great that you're doing this and once the rest us of fully understand the violation we can help to put pressure on Zinwell.






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  Reply # 142072 1-Jul-2008 23:07
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Yes there are a couple of things if you read the GPLv2 Licence...

About the GPL Licence....

1. You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Program's
source code as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you
conspicuously and appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate
copyright notice and disclaimer of warranty; keep intact all the
notices that refer to this License and to the absence of any warranty;
and give any other recipients of the Program a copy of this License
along with the Program.

About Offering the Source..

3. You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on it,
under Section 2) in object code or executable form under the terms of
Sections 1 and 2 above provided that you also do one of the following:

a) Accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable
source code, which must be distributed under the terms of Sections
1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,

b) Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three
years, to give any third party, for a charge no more than your
cost of physically performing source distribution, a complete
machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code, to be
distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium
customarily used for software interchange; or,

c) Accompany it with the information you received as to the offer
to distribute corresponding source code. (This alternative is
allowed only for noncommercial distribution and only if you
received the program in object code or executable form with such
an offer, in accord with Subsection b above.)

Thanks

You can see the full Licence..
http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl-2.0.html


 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 142073 1-Jul-2008 23:08
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mcraenz: To help us understand better; your 2 main concerns are:

1. that they are not distributing the GPL licencse with the box.

Fair enough that's not on.


2.They don't provide source for packages used in the product such as Linux Kernel and busybox

Ok but source for these packages is freely available from their respective websites. Or are you saying that they have modified source recompiled and re-distributed these packages with out providing (or making available the modified source). If that's the case that's very dodgy!

It's great that you're doing this and once the rest us of fully understand the violation we can help to put pressure on Zinwell.


On item 2 they are required under the GPL to make available the exact versions of the code that they are distributing in binary form. At the moment they don't provide any details or source at all. Hence a GPL violation.

Steve




Generally known online as OpenMedia, now working for Red Hat New Zealand as a Solution Architect for all things Linux, Virtual and of course Cloud. Still playing with MythTV and digital media on the side.

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  Reply # 142075 1-Jul-2008 23:22
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Does that mean that the linux CDs/DVDs I sell on trademe, should I personally be making the source code available from my own download site? Or am I missing the point?




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  Reply # 142076 1-Jul-2008 23:25
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I believe the GPL says it must be easily available/accessable, apparently its even possible to charge for it on a disk and say its for the media/shipping.

This is what Dynalink has done, however every request ive seen where someone pays the $10 they get no source code. Want to go after them too?

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  Reply # 142092 2-Jul-2008 07:38
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I see you list a series of companies/offices who were contacted bt did not reply on this matter.

I am not surprised. I guess these companies/offices would only reply if a big studio contacted them complaining someone was using the boxes to duplicate HD content. Then you would see the government officals running, th manufacturer changing specifications, etc.

But you contacted them about someone breaking the copyright of free software? I guess they laughed on your email and deleted. Even the NZOSS did not reply, so this tells us a lot about the status of GPL in this country.




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  Reply # 142113 2-Jul-2008 08:41
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But you contacted them about someone breaking the copyright of free software? I guess they laughed on your email and deleted. Even the NZOSS did not reply, so this tells us a lot about the status of GPL in this country.


Yes, I guess that's the problem. Clearly, by using the code they have agreed to follow the license. Using the code means that you are agreeing to the license.

The only problem is that the GPL may not have been tested in court here in New Zealand yet. In other countries it has successfully been tested. Does anyone know if this has happened here in New Zealand already? Or in Australia, at least?

You might want to contact these guys here: http://www.softwarefreedom.org/ This is the organisation founded by Eben Moglen (the legal mind behind the GPL) and defines itself as a not-for-profit legal services organization that provides legal representation and other law-related services to protect and advance Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). They provide direct services to nonprofit FOSS developers without charge, as well as publications for everyone.

They have successfully sued for GPL violation when someone had BusyBox in their device without properly honoring the license. That was in a German court.

So, they might be the perfect contact point to find out what the legal status of the GPL is in this part of the world, and what they would recommend. They might also be able to refer you to someone who can give local legal advice.

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  Reply # 142115 2-Jul-2008 08:45
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mcraenz: Does that mean that the linux CDs/DVDs I sell on trademe, should I personally be making the source code available from my own download site? Or am I missing the point?


I think you don't have to make it personally available on your site, but you should at least provide a link to the source located somewhere. You might have a README file in there with the links, or on your web site, or the URI of one printed on the CDs, etc.

Interesting, though: If you get a CD from one of the major distros, they must have such links on the DVD or on their web site. Maybe just copy whatever they are doing.

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  Reply # 142141 2-Jul-2008 09:51
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It seems that busybox are the most interested in clearing up these issues...  Google is your friend:

http://www.google.co.nz/search?q=busybox+gpl+violations

http://lawandlifesiliconvalley.blogspot.com/2007/11/monsoon-media-lessons-for-foss.html





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  Reply # 142301 2-Jul-2008 18:16
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You could also try contacting groklaw.net    'Tho you probably are already aware of their involvement in documenting the whole 'SCO' fiasco.

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