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> If the Navy were to launch missiles with GPLed software in their warheads can the orphans sue for copyright infringement? I don't think so. How likely does a warhead get launched then fails to explode leaving the hardware AND software intact?

Milking the GNU

Well, no need for the warhead to stay intact the explosion is the proof of distribution: if somebody writes a GPL-based virus that wipes out your HD (including itself) would you argue that the exec hasn't been distributed when in fact it has been executed?



Hi, I recall a test case in English law many years back when Sunday trading was mostly illegal. The exception to the rule were things like vegetables and certain glossy magazines. Anyway, a small shopkeeper decided to sell potatoes for the price of _whatever you really wanted_. He'd then give you the desired item for free. Great idea, made the newspapers, he was taken to court and lost. A few years later however, Sunday trading laws were repealed. Cumulative sillyness, heavy lobbying (I suspect) and rampant disregard for the law saw to that one.

La mouche du coche

I happen to be a customer of Free.

I checked very thoroughly and I cannot find any CD or floppy or tape or USB gizmo or input port to load a single byte into the Freebox. The only way for it to get its software is by plugging it on a phone line that has an Iliad equipment on the other side ("ligne dégroupée" in french).

In my book, this means that yes, the Freebox is either part of Free's network or can only be used as a brick to keep a door opened.

This whole suit smells pretty bad since a competitor of Free happens to be involved.

Milking the GNU

To: La mouche du coche

1- Indeed the Freebox doesn't have any Floppy or USB port, so what? The software to run the box is dynamically downloaded in memory at boot time. The fact that you cannot easily see or access the GPL-ed exec does NOT mean it hasn't been distributed. If you have a Tivo home, you cannot easily access the software, yet it does not mean that the Tivo box belong to the network of your internet provider. Assume that your provider provides you with a plug-and-play TV with 50 channels. Will you argue that all broadcasts are purely "internal"?!

2- Competitor involved: even if it is true, it's only leveling the playing field, especially if the competitor in question offers its own GPLed code to download ...


"If the Navy were to launch missiles with GPLed software in their warheads can the orphans sue for copyright infringement?"

Not unless the orphans wrote the software...

Milking the GNU

Actually copyright can be transferred by will or inheritance; so it can also work if the deceased parent(s) wrote the software...

La mouche du coche

To: Milking the GNU

1- The only way for the freebox to run this code is to plug it into Free's network. QED.

Milking the GNU

1- The only way for a TV or a Tivo box to run (or record) a movie is to plug into my cable ...


The only way, in my opinion, for the "bricks" to be part of a single network is if ALL of the infrastructure between the servers and the "bricks" is either wholly owned or exclusively controlled by Free. The other thing that should be argued is the definition of "site". I find it impossible to believe that anyone would accept that any non-contiguous space can be defined as a single site.


I think most site licenses are pretty specific about what constitutes a "site"; the RIAA would certainly not be helpful in your hypothetical attempt to distribute content to the public under a "site license".

The GPL's permission to distribute the software is clearly contiginet upon meeting the GPL's conditions -- so the question for Free would be, without any permission from copyright holders, would they be able to include whatever non-free software they want on their devices? Obviously not.

It is a laughable defense, and not likely to ever be presented before a judge.

Clark Asay

Pierre, I haven't been able to locate much about the 2007 French court decision regarding GPL enforceability (granted, I don't read French). Is there a reason more information hasn't been circulated about it?


@Clark Asay
French justice is slooooow ...



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RIAA to help enforcing the GPL
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