Re: Dual-Licensing Linux Kernel with GPL V2 and GPL V3

From: Alan Cox
Date: Thu Jun 14 2007 - 20:05:26 EST

> the GPLv2 license says no such thing, and you seem to be mighty confused
> about how software licenses work.

There is no such thing as a software licence. It is a copyright licence.

> the GPL applies to software. It is a software license.

You can GPL a new graphical logo you painted on your toilet seat, you can
GPL hardware designs. It might not be a good licence for either but it is
a valid licence.

> the Tivo box is a piece of hardware.

A Tivo box is a collection of literary works protected by copyright,
designs protected by design patents and copyright, names and logos
protected by trademarks, functionalities protected by patents and many
more things. These are the things that restrict what I may do with it and
how I may treat it. The collection of bits of metal and sand aren't
really of relevance in terms of licencing.

If it was a generic housebrick with none of these things attached then
within the law I can do what I like with it including copying it. A book
is a copyright work but the copyright is about the literary work and the
fact it is on paper is largely irrelevant. What determines your usage
rights for those pieces of paper are the literary work it carries not the
pieces of paper (unless made of a new patented paper material or similar)

> a disk is put into it with software copied to it already: a bootloader,
> a Linux kernel plus a handful of applications. The free software bits
> are available for download.

Except the keys - which may nor may not be required depending upon how a
court (not a mailing list) interprets the phrases

"The source code for a work means the preferred form of the work for
making modifications to it"


"For an executable work, complete source code means all the source code
for all modules it contains, plus any associated interface definition
files, plus the scripts used to control compilation and installation of
the executable."

If you ask the legal profession about this seriously the answer you get
is bluntly "There is no caselaw I am aware of", which means that nobody
knows. Obviously Tivo and their legal counsel have formed an opinion and
have based their actions upon that opinion.

> the Tivo box is another (copyrighted) work, a piece of hardware.

You can't copyright hardware. Sorry but if you are going to try and have
a detailed logical argument you need to start from a rigorous base point.

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