[ILUG] SuSE redistribution
bigbro at skynet.ie
Thu Apr 21 09:08:52 IST 2005
Some interesting discussion here.
While I agree with Rick (because, damn his eyes, he's right ;-) ) on
this one, there is an interesting (IMHO) question as to whether the law
should be changed - or at the very least clarified. Let me very briefly
present my reasoning. (IANAL, and much of my knowledge of this legal
field comes from music rather than computer software, so YMMV, etc.)
There is a potential case of 'double-dipping' here, in that software,
like music, uses 2 separate streams of law to protect it. You have
copyright law (which covers the copyrighting of software) but also the
licensing law/EULA (which covers e.g. use of software on more than one
machine, even though you may not be copying anything (per se, caveats
Perhaps it would be nice to see the commercial package copyright
holders specifically allowing SuSE (and their like) to redistribute
copies, but enforcing the licensing (so I can have them on a CD, just as
I can download them from the internet) but may not use them unless I
agree to use them.
In practice, all the packages mentioned are freely downloadable from
the internet (AFAICS) so protecting against a few more copies is surely
not going to make a difference, is it?
Perhaps this might be an opportunity for the companies to clarify THEIR
desires for their software, rather than leave it to generic law
(copyright & contract) in cases such as these? I don't know. What do
P.S. If I've not make the 'double-dipping' concept clear, please let me
know and I'll post again clarifying what I mean. :-)
Rick Moen wrote:
> Quoting Rory Browne (rory.browne at gmail.com):
>>>So, if you as a purchaser of a SUSE Linux Professional Edition boxed set
>>>don't accept, e.g., the licence to MoneyPlex (and/or the other three),
>>>where specifically would you be gaining the right to redistribute it?
>>What you have to examine here, is what exactly you are redistributing.
>>If you are redistributing the Program on its own, for the explicit
>>purpose of installing that Program, then that probably would be
>>illegal. If however what you want to redistribute is an entire, then I
>>think the onus is on the copyright holder for the CD(which in this
>>case would be Novell) layout to decide whether or not you can
>>redistribute the medium as a whole.
> I'm sorry, but Novell is not the relevant copyright holder for those
> four codebases. And copyright infringement is a tort, regardless of the
> purpose for which one commits the infringing act.
> And I'll note that you sidestepped my question.
> [SCO Group:]
>>That is a completely different case.
> No, it is a different case in the aspects that I _wasn't discussing_.
> My point concerned the aspects that I _was_ concentrating on: You were
> suggesting that one could avoid obligations by simply not committing any
> act that binds you to the package's licence. My point in the SCO
> comparison is that you often have _fewer_ rights if you don't accept a
> licence than if you do.
> Moreover, I wanted to make sure you didn't miss the point that the right
> of redistribution is reserved to the copyright holder by default
> operation of copyright law, and thus must be conveyed, if at all, by
>>SCO were accusing IBM of revealing Trade Secrets, and all that.
> Which is entirely irrelevant to my point.
>>There is a clause in the GPL that it is the only thing that gives you
>>the right to use/redistribute the software, so all the 'brigher
>>person' had to do was read the GPL.
> GPLv2 clause 5 is redundant to copyright law. As such, it's basically
> informational, informing recipients of the effect I described, and used
> the SCO anecdote to further illustrate.
> "Also"? Did it entirely escape your notice that you completely
> sidestepped my point and raised irrelevancies?
>>...in that case the code was actually (allegedly)used. If the program
>>is only a few files on disk, that are normally never accesses, and
>>never used, then I can't see the problem.
> See preceding point about copyright infringement.
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