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Re: Fedora Freedom and linux-libre



On Jun 15, 2008, jeff <moe blagblagblag org> wrote:

> To me it appears quite clear that Broadcom is distributing a GPL'd
> file, and thus has to turn over the source code.

Actually, it doesn't have to do that, because they're (presumably) the
copyright holders, rather than licensees that, because of copyright
law, need a license to distribute the software, and who are thus
subject to the conditions the GPL sets forth for distribution.

> Can someone explain to me why they are *not* now required to
> distribute the source code to this? 

When they distribute binaries under the GPL without offering sources,
they're telling everyone else that redistribution is not permitted
until the copyright expires or is outlawed.  One might claim they're
inducing copyright infringement of other GPLed packages though.

Think of it this way: only the copyright holder has standing to
enforce a copyright license.  If Broadcom is the only copyright
holder, why would they sue themselves and demand themselves to comply
or stop distributing the program?

Also note that it is extremely unlikely that a copyright infringement
trial would ever come out with a ruling of "defendant must distribute
complete corresponding source code under the GPL".  A more likely
ruling would be "defendant must cease infringement, and owes damages
to the copyright holder".

-- 
Alexandre Oliva         http://www.lsd.ic.unicamp.br/~oliva/
Free Software Evangelist  oliva {lsd ic unicamp br, gnu.org}
FSFLA Board Member       ¡Sé Libre! => http://www.fsfla.org/
Red Hat Compiler Engineer   aoliva {redhat com, gcc.gnu.org}


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