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

From: Michael Poole
Date: Thu Jun 14 2007 - 23:04:48 EST

Daniel Hazelton writes:

> On Thursday 14 June 2007 22:13:13 Michael Poole wrote:
>> The fundamental reason for this is that neither the executable code
>> nor the digital signature serves the desired function alone. The user
>> received a copy of the executable for a particular purpose: to run the
>> program on a particular platform. With DRM signatures, only the
>> combination of program and signature will perform that function, and
>> separating the two based on strictly read legal definitions is risky.
> I agree.
>> The question of whether DRM signatures are covered by the license must
>> be resolved before one can determine whether Tivo gave "*EXACTLY*" the
>> same rights to object-code recipients as Tivo received. GPLv2 is
>> worded such that the answer to this does not depend on whether one is
>> in file A and the other in file B, or whether one is on hard drive C
>> and the other is in flash device D, as long as they are delivered as
>> part of one unit; it *might* matter if, say, one is received on
>> physical media and the other is downloaded on demand.
> I have read the GPLv2 at least three times since it was pointed out that I had
> forgotten part of it. At no point can I find a point where Tivo broke the
> GPLv2 requirement that they give the recipients of the object code the same
> rights they received when they acquired a copy of the object or source code.

I am trying to reconcile your responses to those two paragraphs.

If the DRM signature and program executable are coupled such that they
are not useful when separated, the implication to me is that they form
one work that is based on the original Program. This is beyond the
GPL's permission for "mere aggregation".

If they are one work, and the original Program was licensed under the
GPLv2, the combined work must also be licensed under the terms of the

The input files required to generate a DRM-valid digital signature are
part the preferred form for modifying that work.

If those bits are not distributed along with the rest of the GPL'ed
work, the distributor is either not giving the same rights to the end
user, not distributing the source code for the work, or both. Which
is it?

Michael Poole
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