Similar in spirit?
Posted Oct 6, 2006 21:46 UTC (Fri) by nim-nim
In reply to: Similar in spirit?
Parent article: Similar in spirit?
Your scenario is not credible.
0. Your use of a checksum muddies the water somewhat, because it implies a 1<->1 relationship between authorization and software version. But a fixed checksum list would be of little use, so the list itself must be updateable, and the checksum of the update list is unknown beforehand, which means you have a master key somewhere which can approve any checksum or list, which takes us back to square one.
1. The media player company is not distributing its binary in the hope that, maybe, a media distributor will pick it up, approve it, and it will end up in the device. They have contracts with all these entities if only to get paid. If they take the money without ensuring the licensing obligations are respected, they'll be condemned.
2. Even assuming it does release a binary without any counterpart or contact with the other companies, I believe that by ensuring it can made its way on the device they are participating it its distribution, and have to honor the licensing obligations. Certainly should they approve a binary containing sequences "lifted" from an Hollywood media they wouldn't expect not to be sued.
This is a general weakness of many of the examples provided so far. You all assume that because the GPL "payment" is not monetary, or due to hobbyists, it's somehow optional or weak and you only need to make the situation complex enough before people give up. The law does not work this way.
Before you post any other scenario, take the time to replace "GPLed software" with "Hollywood film" and "GPL licensing obligations" with "Hollywood film licensing obligations". If your house of cards wouldn't protect you when distributing an "Hollywood film", do you actually believe using it for a "GPL software" will work any better before the judge?
Also, do remember that no judge will rule that since you're broke, you didn't have to pay at the shop. He'll rule that since you're broke, you shouldn't have taken what you couldn't afford (and send you to jail). Likewise, being in no position to honour GPL licensing obligations does not give you a free pass at GPLed software. Especially if you've painted yourself in this corner knowingly.
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