Beta

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

How Hardware Makers Come To Violate Free Software Licenses

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the they-were-hoping-to-ask-permission dept.

GNU is Not Unix 186

H4x0r Jim Duggan writes "Veteran violation chasers Shane Coughlan and Armijn Hemel have summarized how license violations are caused in the consumer electronics market under time-to-market pressure and thin profit margins: 'This problem is compounded when one board with a problem appears in devices supplied to a number of western companies. A host of violation reports spanning a dozen European and American businesses may eventually point towards a single mistake during development at an Asian supplier.' They also discuss the helpful organizations which have sprung up and the documents and procedures now available."

cancel ×

186 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

like those DVDs (4, Interesting)

Janek Kozicki (722688) | more than 4 years ago | (#29537467)

like those DVD players that used mplayer but didn't release mplayer's sourcecode?

Re:like those DVDs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29537527)

That was the KISS DVR.

Re:like those DVDs (3, Interesting)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 4 years ago | (#29537943)

Hey. You weren't complaining when region free DVD players stopped honoring the "intellectual property" of the DVD content "owners".

By the way, the players probably use the FFmpeg codecs and not mplayer itself, which lacks any real kind of gui. Speaking of which the FFmpeg codecs are themselves currently sitting under the Damocles sword of intellectual property in the for of the multitude of video codec patents. I doubt there's a single 30 line block of code in there that isn't violating someones patent.

In conclusion, our current IP regime sucks. I for one applaud these hardware makers, particularly in Asia, for cutting this twisted Gordian knot and just loading up their devices will all the features they can download. In my opinion as producers of real tangible goods, they are morally, socially and economically justified in what they have done. If anyone wants to complain, they can just go ahead and make their own, real physical devices and bring them to market.

Re:like those DVDs (3, Insightful)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538049)

That's only a problem if you live in one of the tiny minority of countries that recognise software patents. Most countries however recognise copyrights in one form or another, though they differ in when the copyrights expire.

Re:like those DVDs (5, Insightful)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538053)

Hey. You weren't complaining when region free DVD players stopped honoring the "intellectual property" of the DVD content "owners".

Region codes don't have anything to do with honoring or not honoring intellectual property of DVD content producers. They are technological measures designed to segment the market so that producers can price discriminate more easily. The only reason they would be related to copyright law is because they can also be construed as a copy protection measure, and circumventing that is a violation of the DMCA. As everyone around here should know, it's entirely possible to violate the DMCA without actually infringing copyrights.

If region-free DVD players are illegal, it would only be because the manufacturers of such players signed on to the DVD spec and didn't abide by it, or because they never signed on to the spec in the first place and are perhaps infringing on patents that the DVD Forum allows its members to use. That's a problem for the DVD Forum and its rivals to sort out, and doesn't really have to do with the content on the DVD so much as the licensing agreement surrounding the DVD spec.

Re:like those DVDs (4, Interesting)

Enter the Shoggoth (1362079) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538547)

Hey. You weren't complaining when region free DVD players stopped honoring the "intellectual property" of the DVD content "owners".

Region codes don't have anything to do with honoring or not honoring intellectual property of DVD content producers. They are technological measures designed to segment the market so that producers can price discriminate more easily. The only reason they would be related to copyright law is because they can also be construed as a copy protection measure, and circumventing that is a violation of the DMCA. As everyone around here should know, it's entirely possible to violate the DMCA without actually infringing copyrights.

If region-free DVD players are illegal, it would only be because the manufacturers of such players signed on to the DVD spec and didn't abide by it, or because they never signed on to the spec in the first place and are perhaps infringing on patents that the DVD Forum allows its members to use. That's a problem for the DVD Forum and its rivals to sort out, and doesn't really have to do with the content on the DVD so much as the licensing agreement surrounding the DVD spec.

The whole thing with region-coding is laughable anyway. Region coding was found to be illegal under Australian anti-competition laws yet every major electronics chain still stocks dozens of infringing units from Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, etc. al. And just about every DVD sold here is region encoded.

The authorities have not brought a single case against any of the multinationals.

Yet another data-point that shows so called "Intellectual Property" laws are about one thing and one thing alone: protecting the interests of large corporations over those of both the producers and the consumers of content.

Re:like those DVDs (2, Interesting)

malkavian (9512) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538089)

Yes. Socially laudable. However, they're big business that will use exactly the laws they're ignoring to ride someone else into the ground when it suits them.
Should Copyright and Patent law become sane (i.e. all this becomes legal), then they lose a lot of the 'rights' under law that they currently want to keep.
Interestingly, what DVD players don't honour the intellectual property of content holders? Again, the content providers are playing dirty; they use labour from a worldwide market, yet arbitrarily turn round and say "Ah, but you're not allowed to play content from one area of the world in another". That's not dishonouring their IP at all, it's not accepting that the DVD consortium don't honour their customers' rights to what they've purchased. There is no honour in blindly accepting the dishonourable.

100% with you, our current IP regime sucks, and needs to be replaced. Over time, I'm sure it will be, but for now these little (and not so little) battles need to be fought until someone, somewhere gets the ounce of sense necessary to make the right decisions, balanced correctly against all opposing fronts.

Would someone care to explain to the world where.. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29538125)

the idea that Islam is a peaceful religion came from?

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/092409dnmetbombarrest.1b177db8b.html [dallasnews.com]

Yet another camel jockey hell-bent on mass-murdering unsuspecting civilians. Do you towel heads really think that the American public is going to sit by helplessly if you succeed in another attack while our government tries to sooth us with false notions of diversity and harmony? No one who isn't a Muslim buys that shit. No one. Keep at it, fuckers, and just see what happens to you. The lot of you should be thrown into internment camps pending deportation to the 3rd-world shit-hole from whence you came.

Slashdot Users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29537469)

Slashdot users
Get their knowledge
From many years
In junior college.

Free Software Licenses? (0, Troll)

bonch (38532) | more than 4 years ago | (#29537515)

Free software licenses? You mean copyright licenses like the GPL, which the FSF website says "assures the copyright over the software?" I thought Slashdot was opposed to copyright law and that you couldn't "steal" intellectual property because it wasn't physically taken from someone else? Why is copyright bad in pro-piracy articles and good in free software articles?

Re:Free Software Licenses? (5, Funny)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 4 years ago | (#29537551)

That reminds me of this classic, hivemind confusing post

http://ask.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=6823&cid=886346 [slashdot.org]

Re:Free Software Licenses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29537701)

Hm... that post is dated 2000 August. I find your patience nauseating.

Re:Free Software Licenses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29538157)

Its probably not called patience... I would bet it is called bookmarking. I also wager he has used that link before as it is pretty keen.

Re:Free Software Licenses? (1)

Jurily (900488) | more than 4 years ago | (#29537553)

I thought Slashdot was opposed to copyright law and that you couldn't "steal" intellectual property because it wasn't physically taken from someone else?

We also don't want double standards. As long as RIAA can defend their rights, so can we.

Why is copyright bad in pro-piracy articles and good in free software articles?

Perhaps because of the intent of the licences violated?

Re:Free Software Licenses? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29537767)

Not all open source fans are pro piracy.

I'm in fact against piracy, if someone asks me a free copy of office he will get Openoffice.

If he insists on getting Microsoft office I'll tell him to go buy it.

Re:Free Software Licenses? (2, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538193)

Not all open source fans are pro piracy.

Just the ones who think using the term "piracy" for sharing something you already paid for is bullshit.

Feed the troll time! (5, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#29537555)

Woohoo.. I love doing stuff that is bad for me, it's the best kind of stuff.

Why is copyright bad in pro-piracy articles and good in free software articles?

Uhhh.. because its being used for different purposes? Why are automatic weapons a good thing in armed resistance to tyranny but a bad thing in shopping mall shootings? Are you so seriously retarded that you can't tell the difference between a goal and the tools used to achieve that goal?

Feed the argument time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29537613)

"Uhhh.. because its being used for different purposes? Why are automatic weapons a good thing in armed resistance to tyranny but a bad thing in shopping mall shootings? Are you so seriously retarded that you can't tell the difference between a goal and the tools used to achieve that goal?"

Not as retarded as believing that the same solution (copyright abolishment) will work for both the good and bad usage.

Re:Feed the argument time! (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538213)

Tell you what, you get the military/industrial/intellectual-property complex to give up copyright and I bet you can get the open source people to go along.

The ends justify the means? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29537681)

In other words, you are saying "The Ends Justify The Means".

Killing people is good if they are bad people, and bad if they are good people.

Lying is good if it's for a good cause, and bad if it's for a bad cause.

The problem with "The Ends Justify The Means" are twofold. Firstly, other people might start using the methods that you employ against your cause. That's less of an issue here, although I would be surprised if the proprietary software industry didn't unite after a while as it becomes clearer that the objective of the RMS movement is to destroy and make proprietary software unviable, because it's unable to link into an existing ecosystem that cannot be replicated without extreme hurdle costs.

Secondly, it can be perceived as hypocritical - for example, if someone who has argued strongly for raising taxes also dodges them with the justification "If I dodge taxes I am more able to work for the raising of taxes". I don't see how anyone within the OSS movement can accuse anyone else of hypocrisy for any reason, so long as they use the justification "I am against the use of this tool but I find it useful and so can use it in my fight".

Because I want there to be viable proprietary software, I don't like OSS people - but you can't have anyone like you. In my view the software industry should start lobbying individual countries to declare OSS invalid and fair game for incorporation into any product.

Re:The ends justify the means? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29537699)

I think you extrapolated the example to go on a rant.

Re:The ends justify the means? (3, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | more than 4 years ago | (#29537739)

I am assuming that you use "software industry" where you mean "Closed Source Software" as the software industry includes a lot of OSS software and even companies.

In my view the software industry should start lobbying individual countries to declare OSS invalid and fair game for incorporation into any product.

If that works two ways, then I am with you. If OSS can use the software protected under licences of Closed SOurce, it would be great. It would mean that there is NO copyright on software. Not from the industry and not from the OSS front.

Otherwise you are a hypocrite for doing the "I am against the use of this tool but I find it useful and so can use it in my fight" reasoning.

I could easily say:
In my view the OSS community should start lobbying individual countries to declare Closed Source invalid and fair game for incorporation into any product. See, it works both ways.

The only difference is however that OSS asks to have the source open and CSS asks to have the source, well, closed. I rather have the second then the first.

With Closed Source, everybody stands on the bottom of the pool and everybody drowns. With Open Source, you can stand on the shoulder of giants.

Re:The ends justify the means? (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 4 years ago | (#29537877)

But very few people on slashdot have ever argued in favor of the abolishment of copyright. copyright reform which eliminates abuses and shortens terms, sure, but if you want arguments for abolishment, /. will see more of that directed at particular forms of patent law (which can also be considered "patent reform", as it wouldn't usually abolish the whole system)

And rather than saying "the ends justify the means", we're saying "the means aren't in question, the means are neutral. We're talking about the ends. We've been talking about the ends all along."

  - I am opposed to laws which ban the sale or construction of X
  - I am in favor of laws which ban the malicious use of X
  - I would prefer if laws were written which banned only the action Y in which X were used, and did not mention X at all
  - I do not like the overall concept of Y
  - I like the overall concept of X
  - I do not think that X should be used to do Y
  - I rely on the use of X on a daily basis
  - I don't particularly like many aspects of X

none of these are conflicting statements.

Re:The ends justify the means? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538225)

Killing people is good if they are bad people, and bad if they are good people.

Now, what exactly is the problem here?

Re:Feed the troll time! (1)

kspiteri (599317) | more than 4 years ago | (#29537905)

1. e4 f5 2. c3 g5 3. h5++ shit!
That should be 3. Qh5++

Re:Feed the troll time! (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538031)

Also Nc3, thanks.

Re:Feed the troll time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29538107)

3 .h5++ if correct notation. It's unambiguous. Only the queen could perform such a move, so no need to be specific.

old debate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29538777)

There is always a debate RE free as in beer vs free as in speech. Most people care about free beer, literally and metaphorically. This has always been a challenge for free software advocates, and probably always will be since how can most people care about a freedom that they don't understand?

Even in your metaphor of mall shootings and uprisings against the government, the motives of shooters is never fully altruistic. There is always some self interest that makes the ideals of a situation confused.

Re:Free Software Licenses? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29537585)

Come on, bonch. You are either hopelessly confused or an intentional troll.

Copyright infringement is that, copyright infringement and *not theft*. It is still an infringement -- whether it concerns a work put under the GPL or the newest song by the Spice Girls.

No sensible person here is contending that. It's just this meme of "intellectual property" which we are contending. Copyright, trademark and patents are basically fine (although not as they are now. Especially: copyright terms are too long, patents shouldn't apply to software, maths or business methods, yadda, yadda).

(I am able to imagine a society without copyrights, patents and even trademarks: we wouldn't need the GPL there. But that is open to lots of debate, I know).
Clear now?

Re:Free Software Licenses? (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 4 years ago | (#29537679)

"No sensible person here is contending that. It's just this meme of "intellectual property" which we are contending. Copyright, trademark and patents are basically fine (although not as they are now. Especially: copyright terms are too long, patents shouldn't apply to software, maths or business methods, yadda, yadda)."

Well the point I think that's being made is that if the tool is the same in either case and it's just who wields it that's the difference? Then copyright debates on slashdot should be focusing on the wielder not the tool.

Also I think the point should be made that a form of the GPL could still exist and have power under contract law.

"I am able to imagine a society without copyrights, patents and even trademarks: we wouldn't need the GPL there. "

As long as they're two or more parties with differing goals, there will always need to be contracts.

Re:Free Software Licenses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29538199)

Well the point I think that's being made is that if the tool is the same in either case and it's just who wields it that's the difference? Then copyright debates on slashdot should be focusing on the wielder not the tool.

Well -- I don't know what you mean by "copyright debates": you might mean two things:

  • (1) Copyright is bad and should be abolished
  • (2) Copyright infringement is not theft ("intellectual property" is just a handy metaphor, not a real thing)

I'd say most debates don't turn around (1) but (2).

Thus I'm OK with Sony or whoever has the copyright to that recordings claiming copyright to the recordings by the Spice Girls, same as the FSF claiming the copyrights to the Emacs Sources. No difference here.

It's the "RIAA" calling copyright infringement "theft" to dramatize things and trying to "realize" the mataphor of "intellectual property" I have a problem with.

Also I think the point should be made that a form of the GPL could still exist and have power under contract law.

The GPL is in fact a kind of contract.

"I am able to imagine a society without copyrights, patents and even trademarks: we wouldn't need the GPL there. "

As long as they're two or more parties with differing goals, there will always need to be contracts.

No disagreement here. I was talking about copyrights and patents, not contracts.

Re:Free Software Licenses? (0)

gnupun (752725) | more than 4 years ago | (#29537969)

Copyright infringement is that, copyright infringement and *not theft*.

This specious argument has been bandied around by shameless pirates for a long time and it's simply not true. For example, if 90% of users of an application are pirates, the software creator has probably not earned enough from the 10% buyers to cover the cost of creating the software, in which case, it is theft. Did you stupid pirates think for one second that the retail price involves more than just the manufacturing cost?

In fact, retail price of software = manufacturing cost + distribution cost + creation cost + profit.

Here, creation cost involves time and money (eg: programmer salaries) spent in creating the software. And the software publisher has to recover this cost before it can make a profit. Without copyright, there is no way to recover the cost as hardly anybody is willing to pay for something that is free. The end result of removing copyright will be that nobody will bother creating good software.

Re:Free Software Licenses? (3, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538013)

We have different words for these things because they are not the same. This does not make either of them right or wrong, or justify doing one but not the other.

If you can't hold more than one idea in your head at a time then you're the moron.

Re:Free Software Licenses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29538111)

Copyright infringement is that, copyright infringement and *not theft*.

This specious argument has been bandied around by shameless pirates for a long time and it's simply not true.

This is not a "specious argument". It's just the law. In your country and in mine. Just as "slander" and "murder" are considered different by the law in most countries (and for a good reason). Both are punishable, but they are just defferent. Get a grip.

Re:Free Software Licenses? (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538169)

This specious argument has been bandied around by shameless pirates for a long time and it's simply not true. For example, if 90% of users of an application are pirates, the software creator has probably not earned enough from the 10% buyers to cover the cost of creating the software, in which case, it is theft. Did you stupid pirates think for one second that the retail price involves more than just the manufacturing cost?

Theft = criminal law
Copyright violation = civil law

Notice a difference? Or are you just another armchair (IANA)lawyer who shouts first and thinks later(if at all)?

As for your argument regarding 90% of the software's users being pirates...how many of these pirates would have actually bought the software if there was no way to pirate it? Without that particular figure your example is useless.

Re:Free Software Licenses? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538271)

In fact, retail price of software = manufacturing cost + distribution cost + creation cost + profit.

"Creation cost?" Is that for the Word made Code?

"Creation costs" as you so speciously put it, are already monetized by the time the product hits the shelves. Further, if I've bought a copy of a movie, I've already paid my little share of the .01 % of the sticker price that goes to "creation costs" and if I want to sell that DVD or share it on a file sharing site it does not make me a "shameless pirate" any more than Company X ruining Company Y through the use of intellectual property lawsuits makes them "shameless murderers".

Now go fuck yourself.

Re:Free Software Licenses? (1)

gnupun (752725) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538907)

FYI, a normal pirate is one who knows pirating is wrong but does it anyway to enjoy the fruits of other people's labor without having to pay for it. A shameless pirate, on the other hand, thinks he has a moral, ethical and legal right to pirate stuff. Even scummier than the shameless pirate, is the counterfeiter -- he makes copies of copyrighted work and sells them for profit.

I've already paid my little share of the .01 % of the sticker price that goes to "creation costs"

If the DVD costs $30, the creation cost is only $300,000? I don't think that enough to even pay for the extras (actors) in the movie.

Re:Free Software Licenses? (3, Informative)

VJ42 (860241) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538303)

Copyright infringement is that, copyright infringement and *not theft*.

This specious argument has been bandied around by shameless pirates for a long time and it's simply not true.

At least in the UK, the courts have held a clear difference; in the case of Oxford v Moss [wikipedia.org] , the courts ruled that under the 1968 theft act information is not necessarily intangible[sic] property, and therefor cannot be stolen.

Re:Free Software Licenses? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29538733)

So you'll agree you're really a Chimp, right?

Re:Free Software Licenses? (3, Insightful)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#29537643)

Slashdot isn't in favour of or against anything. It's a whole bunch of different people with different opinions. Although I suspect quite a lot of us agree that it's clueless to mistake the opinions of individual posters for the opinion of /. as a whole.

Re:Free Software Licenses? (0, Troll)

10101001 10101001 (732688) | more than 4 years ago | (#29537959)

I thought Slashdot was opposed to copyright law and that you couldn't "steal" intellectual property because it wasn't physically taken from someone else?

You can't. You can de facto violate a license granting you privileges that copyright otherwise forbid, thereby nullifying the license and thereby committing copyright infringement. No stealing is involved.

Why is copyright bad in pro-piracy articles and good in free software articles?

Copyright is bad, period. The real issue at hand is fraud and abuse of existing copyright enforcement. Piracy is bad when you claim to be the maker of a work you're not a maker of, claim to be a distributer of a copy from a maker when you're not, or you try to force people to stop making copies or modifications of your copy. Violating licenses, like the GPL, is good when you make it clear that you're not the original maker and that you're trying your best to make code available for others to modify, even if you're not really sure you can mix all the code together under a license (thinking mixing GPL code and CDDL code) legally.

Oh, and obviously, bad != illlegal, good != legal.

Re:Free Software Licenses? (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538029)

"slashdot" is not against the proliferation of open source code.
Feel free to download, modify and spread any GPL licensed source (we on slashdot would like to do the same with music and film).

Copyright is not a goal in GPL.
It is a tool, to preserve the freedom of being able to modify and distribute the modified versions of the code.
It is really amazing some people still cannot comprehend this simple thing.

Re:Free Software Licenses? (1)

gnupun (752725) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538757)

Copyright is not a goal in GPL.

Rather, the goal of GPL appears to be to use copyright to protect its assets while destroying the market for profit-based copyrighted works -- evil-genius scheme, if true.

It is a tool, to preserve the freedom of being able to modify and distribute the modified versions of the code.

Could you rephrase this statement, using ability instead of freedom, since freedom implies that the end-user of the software is in some way entitled to modify and distribute it. You are entitled to modify only that which you rightfully own. For example, I'm unable to modify the GPL license since I don't own it. The end-users of software most certainly don't have the right to modify the software since they did not design, implement or test it. But the right to modify can be offered as a privilege, as is the case in many real world cases.

Re:Free Software Licenses? (1)

noundi (1044080) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538039)

Free software licenses? You mean copyright licenses like the GPL, which the FSF website says "assures the copyright over the software?" I thought Slashdot was opposed to copyright law and that you couldn't "steal" intellectual property because it wasn't physically taken from someone else? Why is copyright bad in pro-piracy articles and good in free software articles?

Very easy. In proprietary cases I benefit nothing from it. In FOSS cases I do benefit from it, in terms of me being a part of the public and that something was taken from the public. What? Are you going to point at me for not fighting other peoples battles? No? Didn't think so.

Re:Free Software Licenses? (0, Flamebait)

sorak (246725) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538307)

Let's say that you lived in a time when slavery took place, you opposed slavery, and you spoke out against it....

Then, you go to a slave auction, buy as many slaves as you can afford, and then let them go...

Would that make you a hypocrite for buying slaves?

(And I am not comparing the current copyright law to slavery)

Re:Free Software Licenses? (1)

laughingcoyote (762272) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538373)

Even if you are opposed to copyright, using "copyrights" to weaken copyright (by making it impossible for someone else to close the source) is not incompatible with that goal. Further, most here aren't against any form of copyright, but do believe that it has grown far out of control in scope, term, and enforcement. I don't think we'd be having this conversation, or that you'd even have any need to trot out this same old troll you do every time an open source license comes up, if copyright were a 5-10 year term, commercial-use-only type thing.

When you start suing people for hundreds of thousands of dollars because they downloaded songs that would have cost a few bucks, yes, people are going to see the punishment as grossly disproportionate to the crime and react appropriately. Most people consider downloading songs or software much like speeding-technically illegal, but not really particularly bad, and certainly widely done. You'd see the same reaction if they started charging hundreds of thousands of dollars for a speeding ticket.

Your position is, ultimately, a very simplistic one on a very complex subject. Copyright exists (at least in the US) to "promote the progress of Science and the Useful Arts". That is its only purpose. It is not to ensure that anyone gets a paycheck, it is not to establish a property right (which is one reason I'm against the term "intellectual property", copyrights, patents, and trademarks are a limited exclusive-use right, not a property right. This is aside from the fact that they're also totally different things and lumping them together is confusing as to what actual aspect of "intellectual property" you're even talking about). It is in no way intended to "reward creative professionals". It's there to give them enough incentive to keep doing what they're doing, and not a bit more. I totally eliminating copyrights and patents would likely result in more creative output than any other way, the Constitution would not only allow but require that they be eliminated, as at this point they would be hindering the progress of science and art.

As far as your question on theft, you can't steal it. That has nothing to do with whether or not a physical act is involved. I can steal money by cracking into your bank account electronically, and that most certainly is theft. The reason it's impossible for "theft" to apply here is because the thing purportedly being "stolen" is a nonrival good.

The money in your bank account is a rival good, just like a steak in a grocery store or a car in a parking lot. If I take it, you don't have it anymore. If I took it without authorization, and it wasn't mine, I stole it. I could not, however, steal it by simply looking at it, even if you didn't like the idea of me looking at it. You still have it. So, no, you cannot "steal" a song or movie or program simply by looking at it when someone doesn't want you to, any more than you stole someone's tangible object by looking at it when there's a sign asking you not to.

I think one can argue that the current system is well beyond what's needed for that purpose, and may in fact be actively working against that purpose by keeping things locked up too long. Within 10 years, most creative works either have made a profit or never will. We don't need copyrights that can last over a century to provide an incentive, 10 years would be plenty.

Then, we get into the area of registration. People who want to make money from their work tend to register it or at least bother to put a copyright mark on it. Automatically copyrighting everything needlessly locks up content the author couldn't care less about, and creates tons upon tons of orphan works where you couldn't contact the copyright holder to ask permission even if you wanted to. Requiring at least placing a copyright notice, and offering registration for additional protection, is a good balance that would still do quite enough to provide an incentive-it just requires those who want that incentive to do a minimal amount of work to actually ask for it.

All that being said, however, you never start negotiations from the position you really want to get to. If you want copyright to be reduced to a reasonable term with reasonable restrictions and reasonable penalties for violating them, you start from "ABOLISH COPYRIGHT!" They then start from the position of "PERPETUAL COPYRIGHT WITH THE DEATH PENALTY FOR INFRINGEMENT!" That's how negotiations work.

Now, you think you could turn off your bot that posts this every time a story comes up with "open source license violation" in it? Go back to being John Carmack's official spokesman, or something. At least that was good for a laugh.

Re:Free Software Licenses? (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538667)

Ah, I was waiting for this straw man - someone should just write a script to autopost it to every open source licence violation story, so we can get it out the way.

Care you point me to the place where someone accuses them of stealing, and calls for them to be fined at $150,000 per violation?

Can you also show me a story where Slashdotters were in favour of people who profit from copyright infringement? Slashdot isn't a single entity, if you hadn't noticed, but even if we take the viewpoint of the Pirate Party (which is generally the most "extreme" of the range of viewpoints on this issue), even they still support a 5 year copyright term for commercial use, they just think filesharing for non-commercial use should be allowed.

So let me try my own straw man, bonch: why is copyright good when it comes individuals filesharing, but bad when it comes to companies who rip off individuals?

You're as bad as Lily Allen - here in the UK, she's recently been lobbying in support of the Government's planned law to disconnect people who fileshare, yet she was then exposed as plagiarising articles from news sites, but even more significantly, she is a pirate herself: she was found distributing "mix tapes" of mp3s on her MySpace, including other artists' work, in order to promote her own career (they were still up on her website, until yesterday).

Re:Free Software Licenses? (1)

multisync (218450) | more than 4 years ago | (#29539161)

I thought Slashdot was opposed to copyright law

Ah, that ol' straw man. Here goes:

  1. Slashdot isn't just one guy sitting in his basement posting all these comment, it's many people with many opinions, some of which differ from those of others. I would think someone with a 5-digit UID would have noticed that by now
  2. Wanting reforms to copyright law to ensure fair use and the Public Domain are given as much respect and consideration as the needs of copyright holders is not the same thing as being "opposed to copyright law"

and that you couldn't "steal" intellectual property because it wasn't physically taken from someone else?

You can't, but you can infringe their copyright, which is a different, but equally serious, thing than stealing.

Honestly, do you really not get the difference or is 4chan down this morning?

Chipset SDK suppliers (2)

stiggle (649614) | more than 4 years ago | (#29537525)

Many of the chipset SDK suppliers don't tell their customers of their obligations to provide the source when requested by a customer.
So while the hardware manufacturer might be at fault, its the chipset maker who is more often the failure.

Cisco/Linksys using Broadcom chipsets. Did Broadcom tell them about using Linux & their obligation under the GPL to release the code.
Humax with their PVR - now they're less reliant on the chipset as the Cisco situation so are more at fault for not releasing the code when asked.

Re:Chipset SDK suppliers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29537995)

I'm sure on page 327, subsection 32, appendix B of Tech document 9 of 13 fully document the GPL obligations that hardware manufacturers should be aware of.

Surprise! (1)

cbope (130292) | more than 4 years ago | (#29537607)

This is precisely what can happen when a western company outsources "engineering" work to countries with little or no respect of copyright or intellectual property. Of course the company providing the "engineering" work will poach as much as they can from the open source community without compensating the community (by publishing their contributions/patches or through donations) or even acknowledging that they utilized it. This also applies to non- open source tech as well. Many of these "companies" will basically steal what they can to get the job done at the lowest cost so that they can win the business of a major western company.

I'm not saying the ideas of copyright and intellectual property as they are defined today are necessarily right, but I do acknowledge that they exist in some form.

Re:Surprise! (3, Insightful)

bug1 (96678) | more than 4 years ago | (#29537843)

This is precisely what can happen when a western company outsources "engineering" work to countries with little or no respect of copyright or intellectual property.

You imply that western countries respect copyright or intellectual property.

Perhaps instead of blaming countries or cultures it could be simply be that companies dont have a reason to obey open source copyright until they are forced too.

If a company gets caught violating open source licenses the community is very willing to accept it was an accident, even blind ignorance is easily forgiven.

When a company is caught violating open source licenses it just means they have to pay for a lawyer to explain their rights and obligations to them, something they would have had to do anyway... so there is a chance that violating open source licenses will save the company money.

Until violators (and people like Darl McBride) are treated as severely as RIAA defendants then nothing will change, these people need to face bankruptcy or jail, there should not be a profit motive to destroy a public asset (which is what open source is).

The Linux Exception (2, Informative)

LinuxAndLube (1526389) | more than 4 years ago | (#29537783)

To protect its IP, the CE company that I work for does not allow the use of GPL or LGPL code in production software. It's a good thing that Linux system calls are excepted from the normal GPL rules, otherwise we wouldn't have seen its massive success in embedded devices.

Re:The Linux Exception (1)

HonIsCool (720634) | more than 4 years ago | (#29537903)

In what way are Linux system calls "excepted from the normal GPL rules"?

Re:The Linux Exception (2, Interesting)

Aim Here (765712) | more than 4 years ago | (#29537979)

They're not.

What the GP probably refers to is that the Linux copyright file does state that normal use of Linux system calls does not create a derivative work per copyright law. That's more in line with a clarification than an exemption - in that Richard Stallman would agree with it.

(If there are exemptions from 'Normal GPL rules' in Linux, it's in the nature of the allowances the kernel devs have for nonGPled kernel modules, such as the ATI/Nvidia blobs, where it's all a big legal can of worms as to what is, and isn't, a derivative work.)

Re:The Linux Exception (1)

LinuxAndLube (1526389) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538005)

Actually, you have a point. There seems to be no exception.

But then, if a company ships Linux with a layer on top of it, couldn't one argue that it is a derivative work?

Re:The Linux Exception (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29538091)

I guess he means they are not linking. It is considered "using" the product, so you are not bound by the GPL

Re:The Linux Exception (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538833)

The Linux userland is LGPL, not GPL.

This what allows Oracle to run on top of Linux as a commercial closed source product.

Re:The Linux Exception (1)

ciggieposeur (715798) | more than 4 years ago | (#29537927)

It's a good thing that Linux system calls are excepted from the normal GPL rules, otherwise we wouldn't have seen its massive success in embedded devices.

Could you elaborate on the "normal GPL rules" regarding syscalls? Because I'm not seeing why any exception would be needed. Has this been hashed out somewhere before?

(My thinking is: yes, user code can call kernel functions through a binary interface, which is similar to linking, but it's not *really* linked to the kernel; the same binary program could run on a BSD kernel too. I fail to see how syscalls would be any different than a GPL and non-GPL program communicating through SysV IPC shared memory. It seems like the "viral-ness" of the GPL would only come into play if the kernel + user-mode program together became a single program, which would require ripping out the kernel scheduler.)

Re:The Linux Exception (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538019)

Look, it's perfectly simple. If you compile in headers, then by the plain language of the license, you've created a derivative work. Any suggestion that you haven't done so is extrinsic to the license.

Re:The Linux Exception (1)

HonIsCool (720634) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538119)

A license does not decide whether a work is derivative; copyright law does. "Compiling in" a header file is also vague. If all the header file does it to declare an interface, it is difficult to "compile in" any code to derive from. Unless one wants that adhering to an interface is equal to creating derivative work. Then, presuably, one finds a good friend in Darl McBride et al, and supports the notion that Linux is a derivative work of Unix.

Re:The Linux Exception (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538723)

Fair point about derivative works, but that's still extrinsic to the license, and you'd have to pay a lawyer to prove it. Ask IBM.

"Compiling in" is not vague at all though, at least in the context of a C/C++ compiler. "Header files" have no meaning to the compiler - it's all just source, regardless of which top level module caused it to be included verbatim. [citation [strlen.com] ]

Re:The Linux Exception (1)

LinuxAndLube (1526389) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538043)

Interesting. So, if I want to circumvent the GPL on a library, I only have to create a binary interface layer on top of the library and use that layer? The layer itself of course would be GPL.

Re:The Linux Exception (1)

PAjamian (679137) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538151)

That's exactly what a number of hardware manufacturers do with their driver code. The legality of this is debatable, the FSF would like you to believe that this is not legal, I wouldn't know.

Re:The Linux Exception (1)

LinuxAndLube (1526389) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538217)

I'm confused now. Is the GPL document clear on this or not? It's supposed to be a legal document, no?

Re:The Linux Exception (1)

Aim Here (765712) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538793)

The GPL is very clear. If it's a derivative work of someone else's GPL'ed code, it ought to have a GPL-compatible license. If not, the GPL doesn't necessarily apply.

What's not clear is what does and doesn't constitute a derivative work in software. That's the job of case and statute law, not the GPL.

Re:The Linux Exception (1)

LinuxAndLube (1526389) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538893)

I see. So, depending on the country where a device is distributed, one might get sued for shipping a device based on linux and not GPLing the applications running on it?

Re:The Linux Exception (3, Interesting)

taniwha (70410) | more than 4 years ago | (#29537957)

the last 2 places I've worked at we've used it all the time - we're careful about how we partition code and we publish source when required and we blow patches back to the various projects if it makes sense for them (after all we win in the end).

It's not hard to comply if you build it in to your planning from the start

Re:The Linux Exception (1)

LinuxAndLube (1526389) | more than 4 years ago | (#29537983)

That's interesting. Do you mind providing links?

Funny... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29538129)

...the CE company I work for does use GPL code, only just GPLV2. We heavily invest in Linux too [celinuxforum.org] .

Have the tables finally turned? (1)

ahodgkinson (662233) | more than 4 years ago | (#29537801)

So does this mean that WE finally have THEM by the balls?

It would be nice for the OS community to serve back what it's been receiving. I'm thinking
of the patent trolls, copyright oppression, DCMA takedown notices and the like.

NO, this is NOT the reason (2, Insightful)

AbbeyRoad (198852) | more than 4 years ago | (#29537807)

The reason why they "violate" is because they just do not care.

It has nothing to do with deadlines or politics or competition or margins.

The code they are using is seen as "some free stuff I downloaded which happens to work - cool for me".

The point of a company is to make money, not to further ethical causes. If it doesn't SEEM like a massive no-no I don't think it would enter the head of even one person in this supply chain to question it. And by the time anyone does, its already 3 generations of products later and they are wondering why someone is bothered with a product that is nearly ending its life cycle.

I mean, if asked, they would probably ask if there is any tangible heavy institution that is likely to find out, or even to care if they did.

Ultimately, you need to also ask if it really matters at all. How often do you think this provided source code is really going to be useful to a mass audience? As you say: the products in question have a very short life span, and the changes must be small to be able to be completed in time.

FreeBSD benefits enormously from user contributions (both commercial and hobbiest), yet has no requirement to make changes public.

Oh it MUST matter you say - it's the PRINCIPLE.

Well it's YOUR principle.

The title should be rephrase:
"How Hardware Makers Come to Comply With Free Software Licenses" These are the extremely rare cases, and in truth any company that is spending time worrying about little things like this has probably so lost focus it won't be around for long.

Re:NO, this is NOT the reason (5, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#29537853)

Ah, the BSD troll.

There have been a lot of cases (the linksys modding scene for instance) in which the lack of GPL would have meant no release of source or tools. There are a variety of other examples.

I also don't believe for a second that linux would have got where it is today, with multiple big-name companies supporting it and contributing to it if they had not been forced to reopen their changes.

Thirdly, lots of people don't like the idea of contributing to a project which can then be swept up and used by commercial entities without them being made to have the courtesy to contribute back.

At this point BSD is basically an also-ran. Great project, great OS I'm sure, but not on the same level as linux or supported in anything like the same way in terms of FOSS and commercial software. At least a some of this is down to the environment created by the differing licenses.

Re:NO, this is NOT the reason (0, Troll)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538007)

I also don't believe for a second that linux would have got where it is today [...]

Where it is today is trailing behind the BSD based OS X. M'kay?

Re:NO, this is NOT the reason (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538027)

Sure about that?

I'm not talking about desktop systems here. Look at the server room and the embedded markets and I think you'll see something quite, quite different.

Re:NO, this is NOT the reason (0, Troll)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538803)

Windows Server, Solaris and Windows XP?

Re:NO, this is NOT the reason (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538871)

MacOS is a variant of OpenStep.

It is it's own little world based on a forked version of NeXT. The fact that there is a BSD buried deep underneath is of little consequence or value.

While you could recompile Unix stuff for MacOS, the Apple faithful would tend to scream at you like pod person for it.

MacOS is successful specifically because for 20 years it was NOT unix. That and lots of advertising.

Re:NO, this is NOT the reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29539051)

MacOS when it was not unix was only used by a handful faithful who are now a minority of the people who have macs, their problem if they liked a shitty OS.

Re:NO, this is NOT the reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29538011)

I think that statement needs clarification, considering that *BSD is neither monolithic nor limited to the *BSD operating systems themselves. Keep in mind that Windows NT-XP (I'm not sure of Vista nor 7) use a BSD-derived TCP/IP stack. Would that count?

Also, Mac OS X is basically a Mach kernel, BSD CLI, and very pretty custom GUI (interoperable with X). Wouldn't that count?

Re:NO, this is NOT the reason (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538041)

FreeBSD was mentioned in particular, and that's what I was addressing.

But I agree, there are quite a few places where BSD licensed code is used.

Re:NO, this is NOT the reason (2, Insightful)

AbbeyRoad (198852) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538057)

Linux is not a religion you moron.

I have ALL OSs installed because I need to port software to ALL OSs.
This means Linux, Mac, WindowsXP/64/03/08, Solaris, FreeBSD, etc. etc.

There is nothing huge to distinguish any of these systems from each other.

They are ALL crap in their own way.

The only difference is in their Pundits: Linux people think that are
knights of some kind of OS crusade. They don't know it, but they
are marketing people employed by RedHat and IBM - employed
WITHOUT PAY that is.

Come to think - there is one good thing I can say about about
astroturfing scum from Microsoft - at least they ARE paid.

Linux pundits represent meaninglessness in its worst form -
they don't contribute source code, they don't earn money off it,
they don't do Linux support, they only spend money on games.

They only ever rave about how good it would be for OTHER
PEOPLE to use Linux, and how terrible it is that OTHER PEOPLE
aren't suing violators of the GPL.

-paul

Re:NO, this is NOT the reason (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538081)

"Linux pundits represent meaninglessness in its worst form -
they don't contribute source code, they don't earn money off it,
they don't do Linux support, they only spend money on games."

I do all of those things, except *only* spending money on games, but I do spend money on games.

Next unfounded rant please.

BSD's popularity (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29538299)

I also don't believe for a second that linux would have got where it is today, with multiple big-name companies supporting it and contributing to it if they had not been forced to reopen their changes.

Sure.

Thirdly, lots of people don't like the idea of contributing to a project which can then be swept up and used by commercial entities without them being made to have the courtesy to contribute back.

And some people don't care where their code is being used. PHK, who developed the MD5 password hash, now has his code running on every single Cisco box, is one of them. Same for the OpenBSD guys, who developed the Blowfish-based password hashes, as well as OpenSSH (which is in just about everything).

Do you think the TCP/IP stack would have spread as quickly as it did if it wasn't licensed under BSD? Do you think Sun, AIX, HP-UX, etc., would have pulled in the code if it was GPL?

At this point BSD is basically an also-ran. Great project, great OS I'm sure, but not on the same level as linux or supported in anything like the same way in terms of FOSS and commercial software. At least a some of this is down to the environment created by the differing licenses.

Apple ships more Unix desktops than any other vendor out there.

NetApp: FreeBSD
Juniper: FreeBSD
Isilon: FreeBSD
Force10 Networks: NetBSD
Cisco: rumoured to be FreeBSD: http://it.toolbox.com/blogs/bsd-guru/freebsd-at-cisco-21312

Just because you're not running it on your desktop (or server), doesn't mean you don't use BSD everyday behind the scenes. The projects are doing just fine.

Re:NO, this is NOT the reason (0, Flamebait)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538999)

There have been a lot of cases (the linksys modding scene for instance) in which the lack of GPL would have meant no release of source or tools. There are a variety of other examples.

In other words, thank God we've got Richard Stallman to use the legal system to beat people into submission, and force them to do exactly what WE want them to do. It might be unfortunate, but given that said people work for corporations, they're not as equal as we are, and hence, their wellbeing doesn't count.

I love the smell of freedom, don't you?

At this point BSD is basically an also-ran

Yep. Marginal, dead, and completely irrelevant; just like Netcraft said. I guess that's why FreeBSD is ranked 13th on DistroWatch. It might also have something to do with why NetBSD just had a new release last month, or OpenBSD having its' most recent release in May. It's probably also why Theo de Raadt gave a keynote speech about OpenBSD's development process in May, as well.

Because, you know, they're fringe, dead, irrelevant operating systems. Nobody uses them.

That's also why we've kept seeing stories like this [infoworld.com] crop up in the trade press over the last three months or so; because the GPL is just such an awesome, business-friendly license. Everyone just loves the freedom that their Uncle Richard has provided for them; I really can't imagine where we'd be if it wasn't for him.

not on the same level as linux or supported in anything like the same way in terms of FOSS and commercial software.

Yeah. Too bad World of Warcraft [freebsdgirl.com] doesn't run on it. Having to surf the Web without [freshports.org] Flash [freebsd.org] really hurts, too. Like you said, FreeBSD is so irrelevant, it doesn't even have 3D video card [freebsd.org] drivers.

Re:NO, this is NOT the reason (0, Offtopic)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 4 years ago | (#29539103)

I almost actually forgot to mention something else.

You may not have heard about this, (after all, it was a largely irrelevant occurrence) but Steve Jobs partly based his new operating system on FreeBSD as well, not too long ago.

Of course, as we all know, Steve has always been a wacky, crazy, maverick kind of guy. I'm sure if he'd been able to see your post a few years earlier, it might have prevented him from making a truly disastrous decision.

I mean, after all, why would a major corporation want to base a new operating system on dead code?

Re:NO, this is NOT the reason (1)

smoker2 (750216) | more than 4 years ago | (#29537865)

Why don't they use *BSD code then ? And it's not YOUR principle, it's the principle written in the licence. So again, why don't they use *BSD code ? Surely the only sensible answer is that they don't even read the licence. they don't care. Yet if it's their code that gets reused there is usually hell to pay.

Re:NO, this is NOT the reason (1)

someone1234 (830754) | more than 4 years ago | (#29537991)

>Why don't they use *BSD code then ?

There is no BSD licensed multimedia player with equal or better qualities as ffmpeg.

Re:NO, this is NOT the reason (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538391)

FreeBSD benefits enormously from user contributions (both commercial and hobbiest), yet has no requirement to make changes public.

This is basically the difference between a nonprofit and a business. FreeBSD asks for charity and sometimes companies give them code, because it gets them goodwill and is occasionally beneficial for the companies to make sure others have what they're giving away.

The GPL is not a charity. They offer code in exchange for the promise of other code. If you want to use their code, you have to pay by releasing any changes.

So by analogy, your argument boils down to a belief that people will give to charity, so there's no reason to run a business in order to make enough money to get by. We can all close up our shops and live on charity provided to us by others. Why there's a soup kitchen just down the street, it pretty much obviates the need for the diner. And why should I work to make money for food when I can get it free at the soup kitchen?

Oh it MUST matter you say - it's the PRINCIPLE.

Some people work because they do support working for money in principal and are believers in capitalism. Most, however, work because they want the money to buy clothing and eat and have shelter and buy nonessentials. Most companies and individuals who contribute code under the GPL don't do it because they support the principal, but because they want the practical benefits, the free code from others going forward so they can use an ever better product. Do you seriously think companies pay full time coders to work on the linux kernel because they support the principal of the GPL over BSD? They do it because it will make them more money in the long term.

Re:NO, this is NOT the reason (1)

petrus4 (213815) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538675)

The GPL is not a charity.

They offer code in exchange for the promise of other code.

In other words, the BSD is a vastly morally superior license, and of the two, is a far more pure manifestation of the older hacker gift culture.

I already knew that, but thanks for clearing it up for our viewers at home. ;)

Re:NO, this is NOT the reason (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538701)

The point of a company is to make money, not to further ethical causes.

Companies are bound by the rule of law. That's why GE doesn't have a division responsible for selling crack despite the high profitability of that market.

The reason why they "violate" is because they just do not care.

There's an easy way to make the companies care about OSS license violations: the C&D letter (followed by the appropriate legal action if they don't comply). It's been held up in the cases where it's gone to court. The FSF has a portion of their organization devoted to doing just that sort of wrangling.

Ultimately, you need to also ask if it really matters at all. How often do you think this provided source code is really going to be useful to a mass audience?

Absolutely it matters. And yes the code can be useful - not just for the specific hardware device (which could be around much longer than the manufacturer thought), but for any similar devices that come onto the market.

violation where I worked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29537913)

I worked at a company where I saw the GPL license removed and replaced with an internal copyright. It was an embedded system using a GPL UI toolkit.

I think the problem started with developer ignorance on copyright and licensing, then moved to self-preservation. The same cycle then went up through the management. To hide the error from the highest management, another UI toolkit was written which they said they were doing for better features and performance - it turned out to be worse and in the mean time the project changed license to LGPL.

The blowback from this may not be good long term.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29537941)

If manufacturers think they are going to be bitten by OSS licenses, what will happen is that they will do one of two things:

1: A wholesale move to BSD licensed software with no restrictions on redistribution. This isn't good, but not bad.

2: Punt the whole idea of OSS to the curb and go with closed sources solutions. Closed source is attractive to a lot of companies in the respect that they pay the licensing fee, ship the products, and not worry that some program was mis-licensed somewhere in the chain. The license fee also idemnifies them from any patent issues that might come up from upstream in the chain. Windows CE at the low end is only $3.00 a device. There are companies that were so concerned about the GPL v3 that they ditched Linux wholesale and went with closed source solutions for fear that they would have to give all corporate trade secrets to anyone that asked.

Re:The blowback from this may not be good long ter (2, Insightful)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538583)

Punt the whole idea of OSS to the curb and go with closed sources solutions.

But hang on, if they don't care about violating licences, then what happens when they do this with a closed source solution? I think a commercial company is far more likely to be aggressive at pursuing a lawsuit, than open source authors.

and not worry that some program was mis-licensed somewhere in the chain.

How does this follow? Are open source authors more likely to mis-licence? This is especially a surprising claim, when we're talking about a story where it's the open source software that's being infringed, not the other way round.

Give credit where it's due.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29538023)

mistake?

An important thing to remember is... (3, Insightful)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538033)

...that those companies usually did not intend to break the license in a bad way. After all there's next to no cost in doing it the right way.

So please contact them in a friendly way, and remind them that the rules to get this software for free, is that you have to continue letting others getting it for free. In case of the GPL, even if you modified it. If they don't want that, which is also OK, they have to use another, possibly commercial, product. Or perhaps BSD (which, when you look at Windows, works also well).
But remind them, that the reason they can actually get it free, is that others gave their code away for free. If everybody would do it like them, and not give away the code, then nobody, including themselves, could get any free software anymore.

Only if they then ignore you, and deliberately continue to do it, sue the hell outta them with no mercy whatsoever.

Sun Tzu already recommended this strategy in the 6th century BC, in his book "The Art Of War [wikipedia.org] ".

Re:An important thing to remember is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29538097)

Well bugger me.

They had the same silly justice system in 6th century China as in USA today?

Veteran Violation Chasers? Really? (1)

PingXao (153057) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538061)

For years Harald Welte has been the only serious chaser [gpl-violations.org] I know of. These two have been keeping their work a secret, I guess. More power to them if they're actually tracking down GPL violators, whoever they are. This task is thankless and unappreciated. Most authors can't be bothered.

Re:Veteran Violation Chasers? Really? (1)

antientropic (447787) | more than 4 years ago | (#29538189)

For years Harald Welte has been the only serious chaser [gpl-violations.org] I know of.

As you can read on the About page [gpl-violations.org] , one of the authors of this article, Armijn Hemel, is actually the other half of the gpl-violations.org core team.

Re:Veteran Violation Chasers? Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29538201)

For years Harald Welte has been the only serious chaser [gpl-violations.org] I know of. These two have been keeping their work a secret, I guess. More power to them if they're actually tracking down GPL violators, whoever they are. This task is thankless and unappreciated. Most authors can't be bothered.

Yes, really, and it is not really a secret. The gpl-violations.org website says (if you click on 'Who?'):

The "core team" consists of Harald Welte and Armijn Hemel.

Going after China? Good luck. (3, Insightful)

malevolentjelly (1057140) | more than 4 years ago | (#29539235)

Every western company has to step carefully around the Chinese market. If you're working on a proprietary product, you NEVER license source over there. If a Chinese company decides to rip you off, you've got no recourse.

When you sell software in China, no matter what type, you can only sell a single seat license-- they will break your protection and run it on a hundred.

China's government protects its companies from fair business practices, anyway. Many of the malicious hacks that come from the Chinese government are purely economical- just stealing plans, prototypes, and source code from prominent western businesses.

So, good luck, guys. If these big powerful multinational companies can't get China to pay for what they do to our IP market, I'm not sure what you GPL folks can do. They will say anything they need to say to avoid respecting your license.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?
or Connect with...

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>