[ILUG] SuSE redistribution
rick at linuxmafia.com
Sun Apr 24 23:07:39 IST 2005
Quoting Rory Browne (rory.browne at gmail.com):
> I emailed Novell about this, citing your concerns regarding the
> presence of proprietary software.
> I've been assured that their license is legal.
That's all very nice, but, as you know, they're not the property owners
in question. A statement from the latter would be _relevant_. One from
Novell is no more relevant than my getting permission from your roommate
to take your car on a jaunt to the south of France for a month.
Morever, SUSE's public representatives have a long history of putting
out demonstrably mistaken statement about these issues concerning prior
releases, as those who've been on this mailing list for a while will
(Please note: To reiterate, my concern is _not_ with Novell/SUSE's
inclusion of proprietary software. It is with the ongoing inclusion of
software for which, in all prior releases, the copyright holders have
not granted the public permission to redistribute -- and in fact have
gone out of their way to clarify that it isn't granted.)
> I don't know whether this means that the copyright is based on their
> compilation copyright....
If you _understand_ the concept of "compilation copyright", you would
understand why it's obviously not relevant.
> ...or a license from the relevent copyright holders....
If there _is_ a licence from the relevant copyright holders, then it
should be possible to CITE ITS WORDING. I note that nobody has done so.
My tentative conclusion is this is just yet another in a long series of
excuses people make for copyright infringement, assisted (per your
account, which I readily believe) by erroneous e-mails from company
> ...but they've specificly told me(based on the citation regarding the
> propriatory sw, that redistribution was legal, provided there was no
This is suspiciously identical to their old boilerplate text derived
from the pre-SUSE 9.2 licence on YaST, so one suspects that the support
guys are just quoting it.
> If you dispute this, then feel free to contact the copyright holders
> of the relevent four packages.
Much better: Within a couple of days, I'll have a SUSE Linux
Professional 9.3 5-CD set in front of me, and can check all statements
therein, relevant to the four packages' licensing, for myself. I'll be
extremely surprised if anything relevant has changed since 9.1, but we
I'm guessing that you could do that today, but can't be bothered,
because you're happy to find an excuse, however illogical, for copyright
> I don't think the compilation copyright covers the entire contents. I
> think it covers the image on the media, which is what is in question.
Given that you've raised the topic in a context where it has no
relevance, I suspect you quite get it: A compilation copyright
recognises (and creates an abstract property interest in) any
sufficiently creative selection and arrangement of some collection of
other people's work. Licensing of that right is completely distinct
from licensing of the constituent works. Having redistribution rights
to one does nothing about getting you redistribution rights to the
> If you disect the image than the subsections of the image come into
No! _Regardless_ of whether you decompose the image, rights to its
components either were or were not yours, depending on whether the
components owners granted those rights.
This really shouldn't be that difficult, Rory. The mechanics of the
matter are pretty freakin' obvious, in fact.
> > > Novell give their customers the right redistribute their compilation.
> > Unsupported assertion. Please cite.
> > The relevant copyright holders would have to grant permission for
> > further redistribution, and there's no been showing that they ever have.
> > In fact, evidence from 9.1 Professional Edition showed the exact
> > opposite.
> Which would make it illegal for Novell to place copys of their work on
> their media for redsitribution.
No, it certainly would not.
I know the particulars of this matter because it was discussed
extensively online concerning then-impending Linux distribution releases
were to include, e.g., RealPlayer, Netscape Communicator/Navigator, and
Acrobat Reader in them -- such as early Red Hat releases. Anyone who
wanted to include those packages was obliged to sign a distribution
agreement. _If_ the resulting CD images were intended to be
REdistributable by the public (e.g., RH 4.2), then the RPMs in question
included a statement to that effect by the copyright owners. If not,
then the package would include no such statement.
> It is therefore safe to assume that such permission exists.
You think the public was granted redistribution rights, but the
copyright holders didn't want to _inform the public_ of that. What, you
think the lawyers at Adobe Systems are suddenly asleep on the job?
> > No, I've referenced settled points of law, demonstrable fact about the
> > earlier release, and Novell-published package lists.
> No you havent't
I've already furnished the URLs for relevant quotations from the 9.1
packages and for 9.3's package lists. The relevant points of law you
can find in the Berne Convention and applicable national copyright
statutes, which, modulo local atrocities like DMCA, tend to be very
similar in most places.
> OK I'm getting fed up saying the same thing time and time again. My
> point isn't that Novell own the constituent copyrights. I'm saying
> that they own the copyright for the media image as a whole.
Which is, for elementary reasons cited, irrelevant to the point.
> > Thus my question: Where's the licence?
> Presumably at Novells Headquarters in Waltham, Massachusetts, although
> possibly in Nuremburg, which was(and possibly still is) SuSE's
"The public have been granted permission, but it's 'on display' in the
bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a
sign on the door saying 'Beware of the leopard.'"
> > > Don't start an argument about what SCO's case against IBM was about.
> > As the French would presumably never say: "Quelle chutzpah!" _You_
> > were the one doing that.
> You were the one who brought up the recent action between SCO and IBM
But not "starting an argument about what SCO's case against IBM was
about". What, are you dense?
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