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Can I Distribute This?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the traversing-the-legal-minefield dept.

Software 33

erikharrison asks: "LormaLinux is one of several emerging desktop oriented Linux distros. It comes prepackaged with the Flash Plugin, Real Player, and Yahoo IM. Is this legal? The Flash EUL agreement does allow free redistribution, but only of the Mac and Windows version, I can't seem to find a EULA for Linux version of Real Player, and can't even find the Linux version of YIM to check for licence issues. Do these distros know something I don't? And if not, am I only going to cause grief if I go to the software OEM and ask for a redistributable licence for my own project?"

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33 comments

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7816998)

This will probably be the most constructive thread of the whole thing. :-)

OMGIZZORS!!! 2 GIRLS NEKKED ON MY BED! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7824594)

Please Advise!

Let's hope they have permission... (1)

akgunkel (567825) | more than 10 years ago | (#7817021)

Let's hope they already have asked permission. We don't need something else for the boobs at SCO to use to fuel their FUD. "In addition to being composed entierely of our source code, Linux distros violate EULA's and cause baldness... in women."

Re:Let's hope they have permission... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7817108)

oi! I'm a bald woman, you insensitive bastard!

Re:Let's hope they have permission... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7865803)

Bald ladys are sexy...
So.. A/S/L

Ask !? (3, Insightful)

noselasd (594905) | more than 10 years ago | (#7817026)

Instead of asking slashdot, I suggest asking the vedors of the software
one wants to include. Much better that way. Makes sense also..

This is why it's a was of time to "Ask Slashdot" (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7817055)

"...am I only going to cause grief if I go to the software OEM and ask for a redistributable licence for my own project?"

Jebus! He thought of this already! He's asking for advice before he pursues this because these vendors are known litigous assholes!

Some bonehead will probably mod you up to 5 for feeding something back to the guy he already considered. If you're going to Karma Whore, at least pretent to come up with something original. What benefit have you provided to the person asking the question? None.

Re:This is why it's a was of time to "Ask Slashdot (1)

metalpet (557056) | more than 10 years ago | (#7821032)

> these vendors are known litigous assholes!

hm ok. None of these 3 companies are suing 12 years old yet AFAIK.

Anyway, these are end-user client software those companies would most likely not mind being distributed, as long as you ask them first.
I somehow don't see Macromedia saying "Well yeah we make that flash player for linux, but we don't want linux users having it pre-installed, that's a bit too easy."
Same goes for the others.

Re:Ask !? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7817079)

What a great idea! Does indeed make more sense...

Kinda like me sending an email the other day. I knew I could have just gone and picked up the phone, rung them up, and had the answer in 30 seconds. But nope, I sent an email instead... wtf... and then I didn't want to ring, 'cause then they would have seen my email later and thought 'err, who's this idiot, looking desparate'.

So, yer... the moral is, be direct!

Distribution (0, Insightful)

kzadot (249737) | more than 10 years ago | (#7817047)

Perhaps they are just not getting wrapped up in the whole nonsense of everything. I mean, I think if somethings freely downloadable, its pretty safe to assume its ok to pass it on.

Sure you might get some clowns like SCO whinging and whining about laws etc. But the facts are:

1 people are even allowed to copy and distribute copyright material in most cases, noone cares about copying records and cds onto cassete tapes for friends. Noone worries about people recording tv shows onto vhs.

2 Copyright isnt even criminal law, its civil. The police dont actually care.

3 Fair use

4 Who cares if all the commercial artists go broke, they suck anyway, truely good artistic creations are done by those that love the art, not the $$$$.

5 Software is just a pattern of 0s and 1s. What company may be so cheeky to claim a certain pattern of 0s and 1s on MY hard drive.

6 All these laws only apply within countries anyway, this is the net, its above all that, information intends to be, and will be, free.

7 By even caring and considering all this license rubbish, you are just giving credibility to the SCOs of this world.

Just try to stay rational about everything and use common sense to decide whats right and wrong, and try not to get all wrapped up in legalses crap, lawyers really dont deserve to get taken so seriously!

Re:Distribution (3, Insightful)

Fluffy the Cat (29157) | more than 10 years ago | (#7817212)

1 people are even allowed to copy and distribute copyright material in most cases, noone cares about copying records and cds onto cassete tapes for friends. Noone worries about people recording tv shows onto vhs.

Because in several jurisdictions, there is explicit legal permission to do so. In any case, did you miss the whole "Home taping is killing music" thing?

2 Copyright isnt even criminal law, its civil. The police dont actually care.

In many jurisdictions, distributing copyrighted material for financial gain (even if it only copies the cost of the media) is criminal.

3 Fair use

Is a mostly US concept. Various parts of the world have no fair use provisions at all.

I think if somethings freely downloadable, its pretty safe to assume its ok to pass it on.

A-ha ha ha. No.

Re:Distribution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7818237)

3 Fair use

Is a mostly US concept. Various parts of the world have no fair use provisions at all.


We have fair use in many parts of europe as well, and I am pretty sure that many other places in this world, where copyright reigns, they have fair use as well...

The world is bigger than America.

Re:Distribution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7819302)

The world is bigger than America.

Yeah, that's why Europe is so influential in the world. Hahaha.

Fair use (2, Insightful)

RevMike (632002) | more than 10 years ago | (#7818241)

3 Fair use

Is a mostly US concept. Various parts of the world have no fair use provisions at all.

Additional info on fair use

The "fair use" doctrine likely wouldn's apply regardless. Fair use exceptions don't provide for re-distribution in total, but for excerpted redestribution in support of educational and academic goals. Furthermore, fair use can not apply where it would likely diminish the commercial value of the original work.

As an example, say you were writing a book on cinematography. You could create a companion DVD containing 1 or 2 minute snippets of films demonstrating the techniques that you describe in your book. The fact that you are distributing 90 seconds of a 100 minute film is unlikely to damage the film's owner in any meaningful way.

You could not, however, redistribute the entire film, or even a substantial portion of it.

Re:Fair use (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 10 years ago | (#7820517)

Nothing you read on Slashdot is legal advice.

Fair use exceptions don't provide for re-distribution in total

"Amount and substantiality" is only one of the four fair use factors. "Effect on the market" tends to count double in actual fair use cases, and it'd be hard for Macromedia or Real to spin this factor in its favor.

You could not, however, redistribute the entire film, or even a substantial portion of it.

Studios will argue that one whole frame out of 130,000 is "substantial."

Re:Fair use (1)

PhlegmMaster (596165) | more than 10 years ago | (#7821138)

Studios will argue that one whole frame out of 130,000 is "substantial."

I *think* that (in NZ at least) there is an allowance for how much of a work you are allowed to copy or redistribute without it being 'substantial'

Although, I'd be very pissed off if they would start shutting down sites [vcdquality.com] because of that. I'd have to download the whole thing then!

Flash: no, Real: no, YIM: no (5, Informative)

Cpyder (57655) | more than 10 years ago | (#7817196)

Flash Plugin:
Check: http://ruslug.rutgers.edu/macromedia/ [rutgers.edu]

" This is the official mirror system of Macromedia Linux packages.
With permission from Macromedia we take their software and package
it in Linux friendly ways (RPM, DEB, ebuild). These packages are
made available for manual download, apt-get, urpmi, or emerge.

Macromedia's EULA forbids repackaging and/or redistribution of
their software so please do not mirror this repository.
Please point your apt-get or urpmi to one of these official
mirrors of this site, as they will be permanent."

Apparently you can either try to ask MM for another exception, or you can make your distribution download the packages from this site. It's maintained by Warren Togami of Fedora.us-fame.

Real Player

You might want to ask the folks at helixsupport.org, and read the licenses over there.

Yahoo IM

When you go to messenger.yahoo.com, click on Unix and check the RPM you see that the license is "proprietary". You can contact them at messenger-unix-support@yahoo-inc.com, maybe they can give you more info.

As for the distributions which include it, like Lycoris, I suppose they've all gotten permission from the authors/owners of this products.

Why Yahoo IM? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7817271)

Maybe this is a stupid question, but why not use one of the GPL'd IM clients that works with Yahoo? It's one less headache.

Re:Why Yahoo IM? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7817584)

Yahoo has changed the protocol more than once lately. Not big changes, but its enough that the programmers of projects like gaim and centerICQ have had to rush to tweak their software. Yahoo has the right to make whatever necessary changes to their protocol they like, but unforunately this means that users relying on opensource have to deal with periods of disconnection as people fix things. Anyways, Seeing as Yahoo *does* provide offical binaries for a variety of platforms, many users may simply want to get their software straight from the horses mouth. Many open source users tend to bitch about proprietary stuff, but the the fact that Yahoo provides (working and supported) linux and FreeBSD versions of their software is very commendable.

Re:Why Yahoo IM? (1)

daEnlitnd1 (637120) | more than 10 years ago | (#7821450)

Yahoo Messenger has additional functions besides messaging.. you can access Yahoo features like calender, email alerts, stock quotes, weather and many more... it can be quite handy if you use these features :-)

Simple Answer (4, Informative)

MrResistor (120588) | more than 10 years ago | (#7818016)

If you don't have a license that specificly says you can redistrubute, you can't! "Redistribution" is basicly publishing, and so it would be covered by basic copyright law.

Real Player and Real One (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7818248)

REDISTRIBUTION NOT PERMITTED in the LICENSE file.

"Lameness filter encountered. Post aborted!"...

Script It? (2, Interesting)

Ieshan (409693) | more than 10 years ago | (#7818442)

Since all of these things are 'net based, why don't you make a script that grabs these packages and seamlessly installs them?

The user will probably never know the difference, and the companies can't complain.

The biggest issue will be a license clickthrough before running the script.

Only for YIM (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 10 years ago | (#7820505)

Downloading packages to each end user's computer would work for Yahoo! IM, but it would not work for Macromedia Flash Player and RealPlayer, both of which can work entirely without connecting to a network, playing media from the local file system.

Re:Script It? (2, Informative)

PhlegmMaster (596165) | more than 10 years ago | (#7821126)

Sometimes even this violates the license agreement.

For example, when installing the JDK on FreeBSD, you are required to manually download and retrieve several files from the sun and freebsd java (patch) sites.
This is because sun forbids binary redistribution (even a script downloading them would be redistribution because the user in basically unaware of a lot of factors), also, it gives them an opportunity to force you to register and provide the information to hunt you down if you break the agreement.

Some common sense... (4, Informative)

aulendil (243399) | more than 10 years ago | (#7819167)

A crash course in copyright law:
1.
Unless stated otherwise, you aren't allowed to copy a copyrighted work!
2. But it says copyrighted!
Yes, the right of making copies granted to the author.

And now, you wouldn't blatantly copy a book giving away free copies. Why would you do otherwise with software.

So, unless clearly stated, you can't redistribute any copyrighted work.

Re:Some common sense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7819290)

And now, you wouldn't blatantly copy a book giving away free copies.

Oh, you think so? :-P

A deeper question... (1)

Niet3sche (534663) | more than 10 years ago | (#7820684)

Did they have permission to distribute The Italian Job (S)VCDs?*
* See the screencap for The Bear, their FTP program, for details.

Re:A deeper question... (1)

PhlegmMaster (596165) | more than 10 years ago | (#7821130)

Technically, they are not distributing it, they're just connecting to their FTP dumpsite to grab CD2

everything is legal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7820701)

everything is legal, if you want it.
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