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AVM's arguments

AVM's arguments

Posted Jun 20, 2011 15:45 UTC (Mon) by coriordan (guest, #7544)
Parent article: FSFE on AVM v. Cybits

FSFE have a background page with interesting stuff:

http://fsfe.org/projects/ftf/avm-gpl-violation.en.html

"AVM justified its position using three arguments. First, they stated that their whole product software must be regarded as an entity under AVM copyright, and that this entity must not be modified. The position Mr Welte took was that the whole product software would in that case be a derivative work according to the GPL, and thus the whole product software should be licensed under the GNU GPL. AVM then switched to a second argument: that the software embedded on its DSL terminals consisted of several parts. According to Mr Welte, AVM could then not prohibit anyone from modifying or distributing the GPL licensed software parts. The final argument by AVM was that the software on their DSL terminals is a composition of several different programs, which, due to the creative process, would be a protected compilation and thus under the copyright of AVM and not affected by the copyleft of the GPL."


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AVM's arguments

Posted Jun 20, 2011 17:17 UTC (Mon) by josh (subscriber, #17465) [Link]

I seem to recall distributions like Red Hat making the "compilation copyright" argument in the past, not to prevent modification but to prevent redistribution of a full Red Hat distribution (as opposed to the individual RPMs and other components).

#3 is a variant of #1, and still fails

Posted Jun 20, 2011 17:47 UTC (Mon) by david.a.wheeler (subscriber, #72896) [Link]

You can claim a "compilation copyright", but since the claimant does NOT have copyright of all the pieces, they still need to obey the rules of the pieces. This same would be true of Microsoft Office; if you build macros on top of Office, and want to distribute a whole system including your macros and Office, you don't get to make arbitrary copies of Microsoft Office; you have to obey the license of Office.

GPLv2 actually anticipates the use of compilation copyright, and makes this perfectly clear: "But when you distribute the same sections as part of a whole which is a work based on the Program, the distribution of the whole must be on the terms of this License, whose permissions for other licensees extend to the entire whole, and thus to each and every part regardless of who wrote it."

I'm guessing this lawsuit will be easily dumped, in Linux' favor. These legal claims sound like nonsense to me. Nobody in the proprietary software world will want this claim to work, since it would mean that proprietary software could be copied indefinitely without paying anyone.

AVM's arguments

Posted Jun 20, 2011 23:28 UTC (Mon) by Hausvib6 (guest, #70606) [Link]

Compilation copyright, huh... Isn't the argument is simple to defeat with something like: What if I took several best-selling songs from the last 9 years, create an album then sell it? I can see multiple armies of lawyers from the music industry coming to get my money and perhaps my soul.

AVM's arguments

Posted Jun 20, 2011 23:39 UTC (Mon) by dlang (subscriber, #313) [Link]

the thing is that they are not arguing that they have the right to do this, they are arguing that you can't modify what they have compiled without their permission.

to use your argument, if they did create a combined album (with properly licensed songs on it) and then you attempted to tweak it (as opposed to creating your own compiliation from scratch), they could prevent you from doing so.

the flaw in their argument is the 'no additional restrictions' clause of the GPL. they can have that compilation copyright, but if they put more restrictions on it than are on the GPL, they then loose the ability to distribute the GPL work (unless they have some other non-GPL license to the work, which does not exist for the kernel)

Court hearing in Berlin Alexanderplatz

Posted Jun 21, 2011 16:16 UTC (Tue) by sladen (subscriber, #27402) [Link]

In the court hearing earlier today (2011-06-21 11:00–12:15) there was one judge, two lay-judges, nine people at the front (including Harald Welte) and twelve people in the gallery. Two other people (possibly other lay judges, but not in gowns) were sat off to one side of the judges observing.

Mein Deutsch ist nicht so gut…; I hope that there will be more informed write-ups in due course. The end result from the court session was a move to writing up more paperwork, to follow-up the legal areas raised. If my understanding is correct, a fourth point was introduced in the process, that of creating a monopoly (obstruction of competitors), in which case competition law may also come into play.

We'll have to wait and see; my impression is that Mssrs Cybits and Welte were far better technically prepared knowing the field, giving shorter answers and referring to the paperwork only when necessary, where-as the AVM legal team often flicked between pages in order to read-out technical lists of features, or case-law snippets parrot-fashion.

There were a few smiles and titters of amusement at points from the highly technical/legal audience in the gallery, but otherwise the atmosphere was calm and concentrated. We'll have to see what pans out.


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