×

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!

Sony Violating GPL?

Hemos posted more than 12 years ago | from the bad-juju-for-all dept.

GNU is Not Unix 212

hub writes "One of the pilot-link main developers states on Advogato and on his site that Sony is violating GPL by distributing binary only version of POSE that has been customized for their Clie (their new Palm compatible device)."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

212 comments

Re:A little much? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#248238)

On Slashdot, you'll only see GPL violations made be big companies.

Just like you won't see an article about John Doe murdering Jane Doe back in Alabama, but you'll see a piece about a meat company murdering someone to turn it into profit.

Re:Of course, the FSF won't stop them (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#248239)


that is correct, the "GPLing community" doesn't have the balls to sue.

1) it takes money
2) it takes effort
3) it takes the chance that the GPL will be found to be bogus.
4) you have to be an author of the infringed upon code.

99.99% of the GPL Whiners fail on one of these 4 points.

Look at the Virgin webplayer. 10,000 GPL violating units shipped, and no MENTION of any kind of legal action.

Re:Poll: Response to a GPL violation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#248240)

Aw crap, bring on the parade of geeks trying to K-whore all the 'Funny' mod points they can....

Re:Can we please give them the benefit of the doub (2)

Tim Macinta (1052) | more than 12 years ago | (#248250)

How can the binary be ready before the source code?

The source could be very poorly documented or strewn with spaghetti code that is to be cleaned up. The binary could be completely usable even though the source is an unreadable mess.

This is totally hypothetical in this case - I'm not saying that it is or isn't applicable to Sony, just that it is possible.

Re:Can we please give them the benefit of the doub (1)

kwalker (1383) | more than 12 years ago | (#248252)

I tried to take that into consideration when I read the article, but after reading it, I think this could get ugly.

The modifications Sony made to POSE were made to support its scroll wheel and the Memory-Stick expansion modules, two technologies Sony has said they own and will not share. Do you really think they're going to release the source to a program that fully utilizes those devices? That effectively open those devices to the general public. I'm all for that, but I really don't think Sony (Or at least their legal team) will agree.

No, I would be genuinely surprised if they do anything other than pull the binary off their server. Either that or they'll just tell us to piss off until a lawyer decides to get involved.

That may be the plan (2)

acb (2797) | more than 12 years ago | (#248253)

It may be precisely Sony's plan to use this as a test case for the GPL, and to throw enough star lawyers at it to outbid the FSF and win a ruling that invalidates or weakens the GPL to the point of uselessness. Sony is a company committed to a proprietarian model of intellectual property (i.e. trusted client systems, "secure" copy control systems), something that the GPL is at odds with.

If the GPL was invalidated by a court ruling, it would open the gates to Sony making proprietary forks of Linux containing copy-control mechanisms (perhaps similar to MS's Secure Audio Path) at the kernel level, without the threat of being forced to reveal their secrets.

Re:hearsay (3)

docwhat (3582) | more than 12 years ago | (#248254)

If it doesn't have any source to verify the fact that the executable may be based on licensed code, or rather any testing or dissection to prove this, then anyone can claim all they want. For all anyone knows or cares, someone frmo the open source community can say MS' ProductX is based on source code X and create a ruckus.

Yeah, right. If the allegedly infringing company says it's based on a known opensource project, it looks like the aforementioned opensource project, and behaves like the aforementioned opensource project; then you have enough to go to court.

You can easily get a case to court if it smells, walks, sounds, and feels like a duck. Once in court, it's no problem to subpoena the source and find out.


Ciao!

Can we please give them the benefit of the doubt? (5)

cdipierr (4045) | more than 12 years ago | (#248258)

I'm a registered Sony PDA developer, so I checked out this claim.

It is true that Sony released a new POSE for the new Clie.

However, the POSE used for the previous Clie is still available, AS IS ITS SOURCE!

Looking at the new emulator, it was just posted 2 days ago (5/1/01). My guess is that they'll release the source real soon now, but it probably wasn't quite ready for prime time just yet.

Personally, I'm glad they released the new emulator and ROMs in a timely fashion. Sure, they are required to release the new source as well, but before we jump all over them, let's give them a few days at the very least.

Several problems (2)

booch (4157) | more than 12 years ago | (#248259)

There are several problems with getting a lawyer to help us in the Open Source / Free Software community.

1) Who is going to pay for the lawyer? It's going to cost a ton of money to fight against Sony's lawyers.

2) Damages for a Free Software product are going to be minimal and hard to prove. The only punitive damages you can get is $10,000, and only if you register the work with the Library of Congress.

That said, there are some lawyers already involved in the community who are already helping us. The FSF has a lawyer, and the EFF has been very helpful with similar court cases.

I think the best use of a lawyer in this case would be to send Sony a Cease and Decist letter. It's cheap, and usually quite effective. Why not give the big corporations a taste of their own medicine?

Very different. (5)

booch (4157) | more than 12 years ago | (#248260)

Yes, there is a big difference. TiVo provides the source and patches to the GPLed programs that they use in their products -- you can download them off their web site. And TiVo doesn't require you to agree to a license saying that you cannot modify the GPLed programs.

Re:GPL holes (1)

el_nino (4271) | more than 12 years ago | (#248261)

Nope - you can release your changes alone as BSD, but you can't release someone elses stuff without permission. This is the same no matter if it's a piece of GPL code you've changed or the latest Microsoft OS.
--
Niklas Nordebo | niklas at nordebo.com

Report Sony to the BSA, get reward (1)

el_nino (4271) | more than 12 years ago | (#248262)

Why not report Sony to the Business Software Alliance? These guys are distributing pirated software, namely POSE.
The GPL isn't a contract, so breaking the GPL isn't a breach of contract. Breaking the GPL is a copyright violation, since you have no right to distribute someone elses copyrighted work without permission. If you don't accept the GPL you have no permission to copy the software.
--
Niklas Nordebo | niklas at nordebo.com

Re:Poll: Response to a GPL violation (1)

kevin lyda (4803) | more than 12 years ago | (#248263)

date of the /. story: 3 may 2001
date of the web page reporting the gpl violation: 5 feb 2001
esitmated date of the notice of infringment: mid-jan 2001

estimated iq of the poster who implies that poor sony wasn't given a chance to respond before being hammered on /.: 30

Re:Poll: Response to a GPL violation (3)

Ed Avis (5917) | more than 12 years ago | (#248266)

*We* don't do anything. It's up to the copyright holder to write to Sony, remind them that he owns the copyright on the code, and ask that they stop distributing it. But they may distribute it under the terms of the GPL.

I hope this (2)

jjr (6873) | more than 12 years ago | (#248268)

Becomes a real test case for GPL in this will show people the the FSF takes violations very seriously. I do not think sony will let it get that far though

Re:GPL holes (1)

hholzgra (6914) | more than 12 years ago | (#248269)

interesting, but that's not how licensing works IMHO.

You would end up with 'GPL' AND 'BSD' here,
not with 'GPL' OR 'BSD'

Re:A big head (5)

mandolin (7248) | more than 12 years ago | (#248271)

So as I'm sitting here working and playing with my Palm, people tend to whip theirs out and play with it, as if to say "Hey, I'm one of you, look, I have a palm too..!"

... in my native tongue we don't call it a "palm", but you're very warm...

Doesn't Anyone Actually *Read* The GPL (2)

Bloodshot (8999) | more than 12 years ago | (#248272)

Now maybe I am totally misinterpreting the GPL, but it's my understanding that when you use GPL'd code and *change* it, that you have to provide those changes to anyone you *asks* for them. I am under the impression that it is not mandatory to distribute source code along with the binary but you have to give your changes to anyone who asks for them.

Re:Time to make a stand. (1)

CoolVibe (11466) | more than 12 years ago | (#248275)

Whoah there... Apple never violated GPL because they never used the GPL. Their Darwin OS uses BSD licensed code, and is not at fault. Get your facts straight before spouting off like that...
--
Slashdot didn't accept your submission? hackerheaven.org [hackerheaven.org] will!

Re:wow. (2)

Pope Slackman (13727) | more than 12 years ago | (#248277)

ya. because everybody's so concerned with impressing this guy.

Yeah, he came off as being quite a dick.
I like smart people, but this sort of arrogance and pretentiousness [plastic.com] just annoys the hell outta me.

Musta been fun chatting with 'im on the plane for 2 hours...

C-X C-S

That would be a stupid plan. (4)

BeBoxer (14448) | more than 12 years ago | (#248279)

There is basically zero chance that Sony would try to get the GPL overturned in court. The reason why is simple. If they go to court and get the license declared invalid, they no longer have any rights to distribute the source of binary at all! This is why the GPL will never be tested in court. They will either comply, or they will stop distributing the emulator. But they won't go to court.

Think about it. If not for the privilges granted to them by the GPL, they would be committing criminal copyright violations by redistributing the code or the binary! You would have to have the dumbest lawyers in the world to trade up from a civil suit (violation of a license agreement) to a criminal copyright violation. Duh. The GPL will never end up in court. Unlike a normal software license which only takes rights away, the GPL grants rights which Sony is relying on to redistribute the code. The same is true for every company which is redistributing GPL'd code.

Re:GPL holes (3)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 12 years ago | (#248284)

No, it doesn't work like that -- copyright is cumulative and granular.

If you take a photograph of one of my paintings, you own the copyright for the photograph. But I still own the copyright for the painting. So if Time Magazine wants to use your photograph on the cover of their next issue they have to get permission from you (to use your photo) AND from me (to use my painting in the photo).

Sony can license their own modifications separately, but they cannot make changes to the license of work they didn't create...

---------------------------------------------

Re:GPL holes (2)

Roofus (15591) | more than 12 years ago | (#248285)


Wait.....

I'm a little fuzzy on this, but I believe you own the CHANGES to the original work. You may license your changes however you wish, but the original code still must be GPLed.

Re:Probably not the first time (3)

Oliver (19269) | more than 12 years ago | (#248288)

Yes the PS2 dev kits come with gcc, as did the ones for the PSOne© And it was/is completely in accordance with the GPL© Pleeeeeaaasse everybody read the GPL first©

The source has to be made publicly available only in certain cases© If they did provide the source wiht the binary to those who they gave the binary to, they do not have to make it publicly availavle© Yes, that's true, written in black and white in /usr/share/common-licences/GPL on a Debian system or in any other copy of the GPL©

So now, everybody please go back again and re-read the GPL before you spread more FUD about the GPL which just hinders the adaption of GPL software in coorporate environments, because companies are unneccercarily afraid of it©

Hmm, I wonder... (5)

Merk (25521) | more than 12 years ago | (#248290)

Is there anything in slashcode that doubles the number of moderators when "GPL" and "Violation" appear in the same article title? If not there sure should be.

Just a warning people, get your facts straight, count to 10 and think about what you're doing before you do something about this. The author of this diary had a really unfortunate encounter with a really annoying Sony employee who most likely doesn't represent the official company's position. Unless you're in a position to verify that there has been a GPL violation don't go off flaming Sony. If you can prove it then follow the steps on the GNU [gnu.org] site.

If indeed Sony is violating the GPL, maybe we can convince IBM (who is apparently all about Linux these days) to put their money where their mouth is and give some of the financial muscle needed to take on another huge corporation.

Re:Can we please give them the benefit of the doub (5)

Brento (26177) | more than 12 years ago | (#248291)

Looking at the new emulator, it was just posted 2 days ago (5/1/01). My guess is that they'll release the source real soon now, but it probably wasn't quite ready for prime time just yet.

How can the binary be ready before the source code? Is that some kind of temporal engineering there or something?

Re:Has anyone asked? (5)

snopes (27370) | more than 12 years ago | (#248295)

It's not even as simple as that. They're also imposing a EULA on the binary which is completely incompatible with the GPL. Even if they did give you the source, if that EULA is attatched anywhere (source, binary), they're in total violation of the GPL.

Re:Has anyone asked? (1)

MrNixon (28945) | more than 12 years ago | (#248296)

He doesn't speak for the company

Then who does? Where do you draw that line?

Poll: Response to a GPL violation (5)

brianvan (42539) | more than 12 years ago | (#248304)

When a company violates the GPL, do we:

1. Politely inform them of the infraction, wait for a response; if they continue to violate, take it up legally.

2. Show up at their front door with torches and shotguns

3. Spam their PR department and the company president to death.

4. Curse them out to all hell on Slashdot, ineffectively

5. Sue the bastards!

6. Cowboy Neal

... seriously, if all you people are serious about the GPL (I'll take a neutral stance on the GPL itself), for God's sakes, get a real organization together to handle these things, so that there's always someone to turn to when there is a GPL violation. You know, some professional and legal experts to help the cause out.

And posting the "news" on Slashdot is a bad way of handling it, since now Sony is going to be defamed and disparaged about 50 million times for something that may be non-existent, innocent, or an issue dealt with expediently. What if one manager made the decision to evilly include a GPL'ed program in the product, and when the company found out, they fired the manager and changed the product to be GPL compliant? Then will the Slashdot community remove or apologize for all the flaming that will follow this? I doubt it.

Source code readiness. (2)

MustardMan (52102) | more than 12 years ago | (#248306)

Perhaps some of the changes they made were coded ok but not documented well. I write code in-house all day, and documentation is something I usually add as an afterthought, once I actually figure out how to make the blasted thing work. I then go back and add comments describing what I did do, rather than revising old comments that stated what I intended to do, to reflect what REALLY happened

GPL Violations (2)

thetechweenie (60363) | more than 12 years ago | (#248310)

I have a question... Who enforces violations to the GPL? I would imagine that it would be costly to prosecute a company like Sony, as I'm sure they have LOTS of lawyers. How are the GPL lawyers paid?

Re:Can we please give them the benefit of the doub (3)

treke (62626) | more than 12 years ago | (#248311)

Easy, they want to provide better documentation along with it. It's also quite likely that they have to go over all of the distribution to ensure there isn't any sensitive material/image damaging material in there.

hearsay (3)

joq (63625) | more than 12 years ago | (#248312)

Its great to see the power of Non Disclosure Agreements.

He decided to let me in on the secrets of Sony using Linux full-time on their "Internet Appliance PS2" machine, called the GSQ. They have a cluster of them in their research group with 16 in series, doing *REAL TIME* "matrix-style" video editing.

One of the biggest problems I see with articles such as this is, they're all hearsay if you ask me and not really worth merit until proven. Someone can say anything for any reason to slander another person or company at will, so while this may seem intruiging until hardcoded news comes out such as Richard Stallman seeking legal actions against Sony, its all bs to me.

All sounds good, except that they only provide a pre-compiled Windows executable of this emulator (no Unix version, no source, and a whopping 3-meg download of this standalone executable), and do not provide any sources to it at all. They also blatently say on their site that this is based fully on the POSE sources for 30a4 (which is a clearly documented GPL'd version).


Additionally, on their site, in order to download this version of the emulator, you have to sign into their developer program. Not so bad. But at the download page, you have no choice but to click on an EULA to get to the emulator download. This EULA clearly states that the emulator and all sources are 100% property of Sony Electronics, Inc. and that distribution without their consent is in direct violation of this license.


If it doesn't have any source to verify the fact that the executable may be based on licensed code, or rather any testing or dissection to prove this, then anyone can claim all they want. For all anyone knows or cares, someone frmo the open source community can say MS' ProductX is based on source code X and create a ruckus.


As for the EULA, I can't speak on this since it doesn't relate to anything I know or care about, again I will just point out that anything this guy has heard is strictly hearsay. At least providing a name would have added some credibility, and no I'm not calling this guy a liar, but what this all boils down to in my mind is he said she said junior high school based unsubstantiated bullshit.


laying the smack down [antioffline.com]

wow. (1)

ravrazor (69324) | more than 12 years ago | (#248315)

one question: who is this David Desrosiers guy?

The Bottom Line is that, if this is true, no matter how many lawyers Sony has, they're violating the license on POSE. and they can fight it all day, but in the end, they'll have to release their additions to the source.

moral of the story: big companies don't get open source. see the apple article posted today...it's a paradigm so far removed from their culture that they ignore it.

so if the FSF has to take them to court to enforce it, then they will...take this opportunity to throw some $$ their way.

http://www.fsf.org/help/donate.html [fsf.org]

OT: gpl violations aside, that was probably the _most_ obnoxious email i've ever read.

"So as I'm sitting here working and playing with my Palm, people
tend to whip theirs out and play with it, as if to say "Hey, I'm one of
you, look, I have a palm too..!"


ya. because everybody's so concerned with impressing this guy.

Re:Has anyone asked? (5)

flatrock (79357) | more than 12 years ago | (#248319)

You're telling me that you think that because some application developer that you meet on a plane, makes a comment that the company doesn't care about licensing issues, that Sony's policy is to violate the GPL.

Someone involved in the project should contact Palm and Sony in order to get this resolved. Give Sony a chance to fix this before you get too up in arms. Mistakes happen.

Re:Has anyone asked? (2)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 12 years ago | (#248324)

Read the article. When prompted about the GPL violation, the Sony emplyee basically said "Go ahead, try to sue us.."

Doesn't sound like they're giving it up to me

String 'em up -- if you can (1)

friartux (89443) | more than 12 years ago | (#248326)

Has the copyright been registered with the US Copyright Office? See the Copyright Office [loc.gov] at the Library of Congress site and their excellent FAQ [loc.gov] for details.

If the copyright has been registered, it substantially increases the chances of successful litigation, and allows treble damages.

Speaking of suits, is the copyright held by someone who has the will and the means to litigate this? If not, has it (or will it) be1919igned properly to such an entity?

Has anyone asked? (5)

Sc00ter (99550) | more than 12 years ago | (#248332)

part of the GPL is that they don't have to give you the source when you get the binary, just that they have to give it to you if you request it. Anybody request it yet?


--

Re:Poll: Response to a GPL violation (5)

Motor (104119) | more than 12 years ago | (#248337)

2. Show up at their front door with torches and shotguns

Well personally, and it is just personally, I vote for this. I've always wanted to be part of an angry mob, but I'm normally too lazy to get up from my computer.

Time to make a stand. (1)

blueskyred (104505) | more than 12 years ago | (#248338)

Apple and Sony are both playing hardball versus the GPL. Now is the time we finally see if the GPL stands up in court or not. "Not supporting Clie" is not good enough. Someone needs to haul their asses to the 9th Circut and get this settled once and for all.

No one should be surprised by the actions of either company. It's all about the game, and how you play it. And they play to win, which means make the most money (for them). Releasing stuff under GPL isn't obviously good for business to them, so they don't. =(

Where's the proof? (1)

Listen Up (107011) | more than 12 years ago | (#248340)


For a claim as large as the one stated in this story, the one most important question that needs to be asked is...
Where is the proof?

Re:A little much? (3)

gkirkend (111309) | more than 12 years ago | (#248341)

IANAL - but this is a *very* big deal (news). If violations of the GPL are not pursued, then the license becomes null and void. Lack of enforcement would make the GPL license just like the BSD license. I doubt anyone who believes in the GPL would like to see that happen. By posting this story on Slashdot, Sony is provided with a warning that they are "found out", giving them the opportunity to do the right thing and release the source. Posting this story also gives people that would be willing to fund a legal battle notice that there is a problem. Given the implications of letting a company slide on a GPL license violation, I believe that giving this problem the most (negative) publicity possible is a good idea. Greg

So tell me (1)

popeydotcom (114724) | more than 12 years ago | (#248342)

What's to stop me taking the various bits and bobs from a number of utilities and selling it?

Aside from my morals of course? Who would know? Do people actually sit there reverse engineering programs here and there just to see if the original source was released under the GPL?

Re:GPL holes (5)

smack.addict (116174) | more than 12 years ago | (#248345)

Not true. The original copyright applies as well as the new copyright. In order for the downstream person to use the derivative work, they must have the rights both to the derivative and original.

Re:Something _must_ be done.. (1)

jcsmith (124970) | more than 12 years ago | (#248346)

That's trademark law, not copyright law. If what you say is true, most commercial software would have lost it's copyright because it's copyright is rarely defended.

Re:Has anyone asked? (2)

pallex (126468) | more than 12 years ago | (#248351)

He may do. Depends if the law in the country this incident allegedly happened in is similar to UK law, which understands the concept of an `agent` working for a company. This person DOES carry the weight of the company behind them. If (s)he says something, the company says something.

(Of course, IANAL...)

A big head (5)

stilwebm (129567) | more than 12 years ago | (#248353)

Anyone else get the feeling this guy thinks he is "above" everyone else?

So as I'm sitting here working and playing with my Palm, people tend to whip theirs out and play with it, as if to say "Hey, I'm one of you, look, I have a palm too..!"

No, you're not one of me. You could never be one of me.

Then he goes on to show and tell his huge collection of handhelds in a similar manner. Later he brags about how he fixed the guys week old problem in 60 seconds.

Is this really the type of guy we want to trust a secondhand story from?

GPL holes (1)

aozilla (133143) | more than 12 years ago | (#248355)

You own the copyright on a derivative work. True, you must license that derivative work under the GPL, but that doesn't restrict you from also licensing the derivative work under the BSD licence. Then a third party can take that work which you licensed under the BSD license and create a derivative work based on that. This eliminates them from having to distribute the work under the GPL, as they never agreed to the GPL, only to the BSD license.

Re:Poll: Response to a GPL violation (5)

rgmoore (133276) | more than 12 years ago | (#248358)

... seriously, if all you people are serious about the GPL (I'll take a neutral stance on the GPL itself), for God's sakes, get a real organization together to handle these things, so that there's always someone to turn to when there is a GPL violation. You know, some professional and legal experts to help the cause out.

That would be The Free Software Foundation [gnu.org]. One of the things that the FSF does is to provide legal help in dealing with apparent GPL violations. Apparently their basic strategy is to start out nice ("You may not realize it, but you're violating the GPL. Here's how to get into compliance.") and only make threatening noises after being nice fails. That seems like a pretty reasonable way of doing things to me. FWIW, they've been pretty successful at getting violators into compliance, with Objective C being a notable success story (they got NeXT to release the source of their compiler for it, as it was built around gcc.)

That EULA (1)

luckykaa (134517) | more than 12 years ago | (#248359)

Ignore it. It states that the customer (who does not own the copyright) gives full IP rights to Sony (who do not own the copyright). I'm sure Sony would also accept that I can give you a copy of any of their copyrighted material if you sign a contract granting me exclusive rights to this.

Re:Probably not the first time (4)

oman_ (147713) | more than 12 years ago | (#248365)

Yup.. and you can go get the source at a few places.

try...
http://ps2dev.sourceforge.net/index2.html
and
http://www.anarchists.co.uk/html/psx2.html

also.. for more (non-gpl) psx2 coding fun try...
http://www.napalm-x.com/~duke/

Re:So the obvious question is ... (2)

connorbd (151811) | more than 12 years ago | (#248366)

I'm told that GCC is actually a fairly common target for GPL theft, though I can't picture MS doing it.

This does seem pretty blatant, though, especially when Palm itself has gone out of its way to be Open Source-friendly. But coming from Sony... I'm not too surprised. Sony is not a company I trust anymore. I've always had a bit of a funny feeling about them, but it's mostly been a good funny until recently. Now... I will most likely not buy a Walkman, Clie, or Vaio any time soon (though I'd take any one of them as a gift). Sony is not quite the Microsoft of consumer electronics -- there's too many other players in the field for them to even come close -- but they don't make much of an effort to appeal to those who prefer open standards. Granted, there are lots of 8mm camcorders, but Sony did try and keep a much tighter control over Betamax than was really wise. (It was big news when Sony shipped its first VHS VCR, and I think they had to OEM them from someone else at first...) I may be getting a PSOne some time soon, but even then...

/Brian

This is a good thing! (1)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | more than 12 years ago | (#248369)

The community (FSF in particular) has always wanted a chance to sue an infringement of the GPL! Getting a judge to rule that the licence is valid and not easily circumvented would be a very good thing indeed...

Unfortunately, the licence appears to be so ironclad that nobody has been reckless enough to test it yet. Let's hope Sony are pig-headed enough to try! But let's also hope (and it seems reasonable) that they will lose!

And so it begins.. (2)

proxima (165692) | more than 12 years ago | (#248370)

Sooner or later, a big company (like Sony) would inevitably test the merit of the GPL license in court. The outcome of such a case will decide the future of GPL and significantly affect the Open Source community.

First step here is to make a fuss about this. Yes, I'm serious. Not here on Slashdot, but get reporters from AP and the Wall Street Journal (among others) so that Sony will actually care about their reputation.

If we really care about the GPL, we can't let Sony set this illegal precedant.

Re:Poll: Response to a GPL violation (1)

Marty200 (170963) | more than 12 years ago | (#248372)

Then will the Slashdot community remove or apologize for all the flaming that will follow this? I doubt it.

Why should we apologize? If they take measure to correct there error then we should give them kudos for that, but people being upset is a good what to get there attention.

MG

Re:Has anyone asked? (2)

tagishsimon (175038) | more than 12 years ago | (#248373)

In UK, this is a case law type thing; IANAL, but from memory the test is that the person being communicated to could reasonably expect that the person speaking for the company represented the company's view. A chance conversation on a place robably fails that test.

Re:Has anyone asked? (3)

kz45 (175825) | more than 12 years ago | (#248375)

This sounds like the BSA coming after people with pirated software!

Think if evceryone was using the GPL. If it was violated (Ie. no source was given only binaries), there would be a police of sorts that would come after you.

I would much have the FREEDOM to choose whether I give back to the community or not. (that's also why you see 99% of big businesses using BSD licensed code on their systems)

People that get in trouble for violating a standard EULA IE: pirating software, are "fucking the man, getting back what they deserve from the companies". But companies that violate the GPL should be attacked with lawyers and forced to give out the source.

You guys can't have it both ways if you want to be taken seriuosly in the real world. If someone else's license is violated (IE: RIAA,Microsoft,insert a large company here) they deserve just as much justice as when the GPL/GNU license is violated.

Re:Corporate Abuse of the GPL (1)

jvj24601 (178471) | more than 12 years ago | (#248378)

It seems that the new trend for major corporations (Apple, Sony, M$, et al) is to use open source code to save develpoment cost.

You're grouping together different instances of open source uses by corporations.

Who is going to enforce the GPL?

What, specifically, does this have to do with Apple?

Re:Monitary compensation. (3)

danheskett (178529) | more than 12 years ago | (#248379)

Naw, dont count on it.

Those type of damage clauses are generally worthless in court. Landlords, banks, software companies, etc try to throw those in, but for the most part, they simply for the threat-intimidatio-scare factor.

When a court asseses damages, they are supposed to look at what the damages actually _were_. Then, if those are punitive enough, the court can assign additional punitive damages. The only time I have heard of those type of monetary claims being upheld is when there was a signed, notarized, two-way contract stating that they both waived trial on certain types of fines. You see those alot in contractor-type relationships (ie.. if the walls arent framed when the sheetrock guy gets here then we waive the right to civil action and agree to a $250/day fine).

Something _must_ be done.. (2)

hyphz (179185) | more than 12 years ago | (#248381)

*Somebody* is going to have to sue Sony for this. I am not a lawyer, so this is only a thought, but I seem to recall there's a section in copyright law which says that a copyright can lapse if it isn't defended. If no legal action is taken, then POSE's copyright could fall off, which will render its license irrelevant.

The problem is, this could be easily used as a way of wiping off GPLs. All it takes is for three or four big companies to break GPL on a single product at once. Somebody's then got to fight them all, or lose the copyright for nondefense. Oh dear.

What any legal case should return (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 12 years ago | (#248385)

For such a thing to go into a court and be proven really happened, violation of GPL, the judgement should be court costs Plus not only making public the source code that should have been GPL to begin with, but additional source code of at least equal value but proprietary being made GPL.

In other words, if you try to steal you will risk losing what you have.


3 S.E.A.S - Virtual Interaction Configuration (VIC) - VISION OF VISIONS!

Who needs a court room? (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 12 years ago | (#248386)

If such GPL code exist, then getting it into such GPL domain, like posting it into the public in any opublic medias (here, Usenet, etc..) is not a violation of law, but rather a support of the predefind Glicense. Since the GPL was in effect before they received the code, it shall be held to.

There is genuine value to be had in Anonymus Remailers. That of upholding the Law, without the overheaproceedures.

In other words, there will be no manipulation of the law via. the game of whos got the most money or power.


3 S.E.A.S - Virtual Interaction Configuration (VIC) - VISION OF VISIONS!

Licenses apply both ways... (3)

glassware (195317) | more than 12 years ago | (#248390)

I presume most of us here would reject the UCITA, which makes commercial software click-wrap agreements binding. If UCITA passes, software companies can insert fun statements into their clickwrap like "By opening this package, I owe MegaCorp $5 extra;" and the lawyers will have the support to make these licenses stick. I hope you'll agree with me that this is a bad idea.

Conversely, don't we have the same situation with the GPL? You're running a program, you find a bug, so you download the source code and hastily click through or agree to whatever requirements the code ships with. How can the GPL be made to be enforceable while clickwraps shouldn't be?

Re:This is a good thing! (1)

zoftie (195518) | more than 12 years ago | (#248391)

I am sure this can be resolved using conventional
talking. After all programmers are ones that are
reasonable people. 1337 d00dz that blow their
temper, are no better than some of the flamboyant
people that float atop of the salary classes in
large places(read suits). 'Sue me' type deal,
that became rubber stamp for california living,
shall not be the moral temlate to everything
else that goes in this world.

Take a deep breath, and lay out what went wrong,
rate what what is important, on scale 1-10,
organize your thoughts, perhaps talk to your lawyer, AFTER you laid organized your thoughts.
Then by yourself try to contact the offender,
in calm way. If they are rude, perhaps they
have their reasons, people are people at the end
of the day, so don't respond to negative remarks
in negative way, be balanced. If logically stuff
is going no where after couple of months, or
couple of week, depending on how much time you
are spending of conflict resolution, contact lawyer. BTW, document everything! Get one of the recording machines, tape your calls, tape of
summarize on paper your conversations, make copies
of fax transmissions, print out email, store
everything in one folder.
If they wish not to reason with you
take all the documentation to the court and get
court to mitigate a reasonable conversation.

HTH,

It was nice living in a free country, where can I find the same now?

Re:Doesn't Anyone Actually *Read* The GPL (3)

bwalling (195998) | more than 12 years ago | (#248392)

This was answered above.

Sony requires agreement to a EULA that states that all source is 100% property of Sony, and will not be made available.

Re:Probably not the first time (1)

Nakoruru (199332) | more than 12 years ago | (#248393)

You do know the PS2 devkits come with GCC as the compiler?

But, the GPL says that Sony only has to give the source code to the people it gives the compiler to. Even then I don't think they have to unless they are ask. So, the only people that would have the right to complain that the source is not available are the PS2 developers. So, if Sony distributes the license agreement with the compiler (a copy of the GPL), then they are in compliance as long as when I developer ask for source he gets it.

If you ask for the source from Sony, well, tough, you never bought a development kit from Sony so you never got the Binary, so the license does not apply.

Nothing keeps a developer from posting the binary and source. At least, I hope Sony does not imply or threaten developers not to. Anyway, the compiler would do you little good without the rest of Sony's devkit, which would be proprietary.

Why wouldn't it hold up? (1)

SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) | more than 12 years ago | (#248394)

What makes the GPL so different than any other software agreement in that it's words aren't completely legal binding?

Just because it wasn't written behind closed doors by company owned lawyers doesn't render it as ineffective as other software agreements like MS EULA and such.

Just like we have PrePaid Lawyer services for those who can't afford costly legal representation, the EFF is analogous(sp?) to such legal services for programmers. It gives them a source for effectively written distribution and copyright licensing of there software.

I think you only need to convince a judge 'testing' this license that taking steps to nullify or weaken such a contract like GPL is totally unfair and biased. Such biasing would need a STRONG legal leg to stand on.

Re:TiVo? (2)

AlphaOne (209575) | more than 12 years ago | (#248397)

IIRC, TiVo keeps the DirecTV encryption secret because it doesn't know anything about it. The smart card you stick in the slot does the decryption.

The TiVo box simply "tunes" the decrypted output of the card.
--

Is this really a surprise? (1)

Mr_Silver (213637) | more than 12 years ago | (#248399)

I'm probably going to be told I'm trolling but is this really a surprise? Businesses have different ideas to software than the GPL. The GPL is all about sharing and helping each other, businesses are all about getting one up on each other and getting more money.

Sony obviously feels that putting out the source would help people develop code for models by those they are in competition with, so they with-held it.

This of course sucks. Question is, what can be done to force them to open up the code?

--

Re:TiVo? (1)

sdo1 (213835) | more than 12 years ago | (#248400)

Thanks, I didn't know that.

So how does TiVo keep the DirecTV encryption scheme a secret?

-S

TiVo? (2)

sdo1 (213835) | more than 12 years ago | (#248401)

Is this any different than TiVo using Linux? They take a GPL OS, do some proprietary modifications, then use it in their product.

That's OK, is it not?

-S

Re:TiVo? (1)

Rudeboy777 (214749) | more than 12 years ago | (#248402)

I would assume the encryption scheme is a separately developed in-house module and not part of their kernel hacking. Hence no GPL violation. I could be totally wrong since I know nothing of the specifics Tivo's guts, but that's my guess.

Re:That may be the plan (1)

Rudeboy777 (214749) | more than 12 years ago | (#248403)

If they did win, you'll have to hand it to Sony for paving the way to figuring out a way make a lot of money off Linux... </sarcasm>

Seriously though, we all knew the GPL would have to stand up to a major court case at some point. This may or may not be it, but it'll be pretty exciting to say the least when the day finally comes.

Re:Corporate Abuse of the GPL (2)

update() (217397) | more than 12 years ago | (#248404)

What, specifically, does this have to do with Apple?

Actually, Apple is including a lot of GPL software in the OS X developer tools CD. And they're in full compliance with the GPL, and going far, far beyond the requirements of the BSD licensed code in Darwin.

The bullshit you read here notwithstanding.

Unsettling MOTD at my ISP.

In the headlines... (1)

Mik!tAAt (217976) | more than 12 years ago | (#248405)

"Reports state that Sony has violated the GPL. The whole Slashdot community immediately stood up to protest, then sat back down, panting heavily." (Adapted from Penny-Arcade)

Re:Corporate Abuse of the GPL (4)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 12 years ago | (#248406)

There's abuse and there's abuse [slashdot.org]

I have a hunch m$ is laying the groundwork for just such and assault on Open Source. It really has been a surprise to see Alchin and Mundie deign to discredit Open Source. There's got to be a reason, more than fear of competition... what's up their sleeve?

At least Sony is demonstrably giving back, by using Linux and GPL code. An endorsement, if you think about it, from a company which has a heck of a record on proprietary technology.

--

Re:Has anyone asked? (1)

h4x0r-3l337 (219532) | more than 12 years ago | (#248407)

When prompted about the GPL violation, the Sony emplyee basically said "Go ahead, try to sue us.."

This particular Sony employee was some nobody that the guy met on a plane. He doesn't speak for the company.

Re:Has anyone asked? (3)

h4x0r-3l337 (219532) | more than 12 years ago | (#248408)

Interesting (as the moderators so astutely determined ;). Does that apply to *any* employee of the company (i.e. would the guy at the assembly line or the lady in the cafeteria be considered an "agent" as much as a VP or CEO), or does the person have to carry some weight within the company?

Provision (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 12 years ago | (#248414)

What about a provision in the GPL that invalidates such EULA restrictions on derivative code? That way you could click through the EULA (or get the code some other way, by hook or by crook), repair the fork, and if Sony decided to sue you, you could rebut that Sony was using your code, and that their EULA was invalid.

remedies clause to gpl (2)

Anonymous Admin (304403) | more than 12 years ago | (#248420)

I do not know if sony is guilty as charged. Whether they are or are not, There needs to be a remedies clause attached to the gpl, that states upon a violation of the license terms, violator agree to pay to FSF and the software developer(s) all revenues from sale of said product. This payment should be 50% to FSF, and 50% to software delveloper(s). No, not all profits, as they can be adjusted to be whatever you want at the moment, but all revenues. This would greatly decrease the motivation to do so, and add some punative damages to the act. It would also accumulate to a nice gpl defense fund and pay the developers for being ripped off.

Re:Something _must_ be done.. (3)

vidarh (309115) | more than 12 years ago | (#248426)

Trademark law specifies that you lose trademark protection if you don't defend your mark. Copyright law does no such thing.

However it is conceivable that a lawyer could argue that if you knew about a violation of copyright, and the person violating your copyright knew you knew without doing anything about it, and this happens over an extended period of time, the fact that you did not do anything could indicate an implied agreement of some form.

If that could be successful? Who knows. I certainly don't (I'm not a lawyer), but I'm sure someone will try it at some point (or already have).

Monitary compensation. (2)

guku (317345) | more than 12 years ago | (#248429)

I thing the GPL needs to add a clause about monitary compensation. Somthing to the point of:

Uppon distributing this GPL software you agree to comply with the tearms of the GPL. If you do not comply, you are liable to the copyright holder(s) an amount to be not less than $15,000 per copy distributed in violation of the GPL.

A clause like this would at least would make a starting point for awarding damages.


-----------------------------
kaaaameeeeeeehaaaaaameeeeeha!
-----------------------------

Re:Several problems (1)

isa-kuruption (317695) | more than 12 years ago | (#248430)

1) Like I said... the lawyer fees would be paid for through the lawsuit with Sony (or whoever)... or the out of court settlement.

2) You'd have to have a good lawyer to prove that the profits Sony (or whoever) made from the selling of the product should be returned to the original author of the software. Therefore, if Sony makes $1 million from selling their products with an OpenSource software package on it, then that money would be forfeited to the author of the Open Source package following the lawsuit.

-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-
w00t w00t raise da r00f!

What we need... (3)

isa-kuruption (317695) | more than 12 years ago | (#248431)

... is a lawyer who is willing to support the GPL (and other licenses such as BSD, apache, etc) and he/she should also have a thorough understanding of the license. By having such a person or people under the wing of the OpenSource community, we could fight such legal battles... then the lawyer could sue for copyright infringement including lawyer fees and a moderate fee of $10 million to be contributed to the Open Source community projects.

This way, if a company such a Sony doesn't want to bother with the court case, maybe they'll settle out of court and provide, oh let's say only, $100,000 and add the GPL into their redistribution of the software. Pay the lawyer his part and then use the rest to provide everyone with /. t-shirts =)



-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-
w00t w00t raise da r00f!

Probably not the first time (2)

Nurgster (320198) | more than 12 years ago | (#248433)

You do know the PS2 devkits come with GCC as the compiler?

I sure as hell would like the source to that... (Emotion engine opsoces anyone? Emulators?)

Re:TiVo? (1)

emn-slashdot (322299) | more than 12 years ago | (#248434)

they also release the code... it's on freshmeat.
shutup.

-EvilMonkeyNinja
a.k.a. Joseph Nicholas Yarbrough
Security Grunt by Day
Programmer by Night

Re:Corporate Abuse of the GPL (1)

Quizme2000 (323961) | more than 12 years ago | (#248435)

I understand your defense of Apple, I will direct you to the source of the specific abuses/misuses http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/apsl.html As for M$ corp. the details can be found in the anti trust case and in the "infamous" slashdot post http://slashdot.org/articles/01/03/31/207205.shtml

Corporate Abuse of the GPL (3)

Quizme2000 (323961) | more than 12 years ago | (#248436)

It seems that the new trend for major corporations (Apple, Sony, M$, et al) is to use open source code to save develpoment cost. Thats great, but only if they give the back to the community. Who is going to enforce the GPL? Who has the resources? As a developer I'm concerned, as a Open_source supporter I'm out-raged.

Does the owners manual have source references? (1)

uiil (413131) | more than 12 years ago | (#248437)

Is there any fine print url: mentioned on any piece of paper in the original packaging? Sony might try to cover by claiming to make source available only to those owners that register with sony. The corporate monolith will probably comply with the gpl - eventualy; but only after the open source community burns up resources in the effort. From a practical point; is a url: the best way to provide source for a storage limited device?

How to sue Sony: FSF as Plaintiff or Class Action? (1)

darrick (413403) | more than 12 years ago | (#248438)

How would you sue a company for violation of the GPL? Would the FSF, as an entity, be the Plaintiff? Or would the FSF instigate a class action suit on behalf of the software developer community? In either case, if this story is true, it's time to test the GPL. Sue Sony!

Re:Poll: Response to a GPL violation (1)

deaddrunk (443038) | more than 12 years ago | (#248441)

... seriously, if all you people are serious about the GPL (I'll take a neutral stance on the GPL itself), for God's sakes, get a real organization together to handle these things, so that there's always someone to turn to when there is a GPL violation. You know, some professional and legal experts to help the cause out.

That would be the Free Software Foundation [gnu.org].

releasing source later than executable (1)

actiondan (445169) | more than 12 years ago | (#248446)

While source code is obviously required to compile an executable, the source might not neccessarily be ready for public viewing immediatly after the executable was compiled.

I've known developers put all sorts of stuff in comments that a company would not want the public to see. They might just want to clean all the non code related comments out before they release it.

Who knows, they might even be spending time adding comments to make the released code extra readable and easy to adapt... :)
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

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>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...