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Thread: Wait... how does any of this work?

  1. #11
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    Default Re: Wait... how does any of this work?

    Well IANAL either, but I know there are a whole raft of rights associated with a work, and just because it's out there, doesn't mean it's public domain (which has a specific meaning). It is possible for a company to permit people get it from their website but not allow redistribution by other sites, or other means. It is all in the fine print.

    It is possible that Broadcom hasn't thought hard about this (perhaps they are not as lawyer-obsessed over there), and simply put it out for all and sundry and don't really care that much, after all they just want to sell more hardware. But the redistributions rights may not have been established. and cannot be assumed.

    Sometimes a workaround is to distribute a script that fetches the software from the official site. This was what was done with the Microsoft TT fonts, for example. But of course there is a Catch-22 in fetching from the net without a network driver.

  2. #12
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    Default Re: Wait... how does any of this work?

    Quote Originally Posted by ken_yap View Post
    It is possible for a company to permit people get it from their website but not allow redistribution by other sites, or other means. It is all in the fine print.
    What fine print?
    I do not think it is possible, unless that restriction is in writing on those websites.
    And, the ones I checked don't show any such a thing.

    What you and Larry seem to be saying, in effect, is that those individuals that
    distribute those Linux distros are lazy, sloppy fools, who have little concern for
    legalities and are just begging to be caught and stopped? [That doesn't seem plausible, to me.]

  3. #13
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    Default Re: Wait... how does any of this work?

    No, I didn't say that. What I said was that you cannot assume that just because it's free for all to download, that it's legal to redistribute by other means. It could be that those distros have formed the opinion that de facto, Broadcom is not going to raise a fuss. They could be right, but they could also be wrong about Broadcom.

  4. #14
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    Default Re: Wait... how does any of this work?

    Quote Originally Posted by ken_yap View Post
    No, I didn't say that. What I said was that you cannot assume that just because it's free for all to download, that it's legal to redistribute by other means. It could be that those distros have formed the opinion that de facto, Broadcom is not going to raise a fuss. They could be right, but they could also be wrong about Broadcom.
    Yes, I CAN assume that there are no restrictions. And, I'm not talking just
    about Broadcom...I'm talking about them all.

    I just went to the store today and bought a shirt. I can give/sell it to my neighbor
    or do whatever I want (because it doesn't say on the shirt that I can't).
    I assert that the same is true of software, UNLESS it makes me
    press a button saying that I agree with the terms and conditions of any restrictions.
    [Why do you think they make you do that, if they aren't required to legally?]

    I've installed MANY drivers via ndiswrapper, and I've never been prompted with
    any license agreement. These companies WANT the Windows driver to
    work on Linux via ndiswrapper...sells more hardware, and they have ZERO
    support responsibility. They gotta be loving it!

  5. #15
    Larry Finger NNTP User

    Default Re: Wait... how does any of this work?

    cookdav wrote:
    > Larry Finger;1824950 Wrote:
    >> The firmware is copyrighted by Broadcom. To my knowledge, they have
    >> not granted anyone the right to distribute it. Thus, they are illegal.
    >> I'm aware of distros that configure ndiswrapper in their Live CDs. As
    >> they don't have the right to distribute the Windows driver, that also
    >> is illegal.
    >>
    >> Larry

    >
    > You say 'they don't have the right to distribute the Windows driver'
    > as though you are a lawyer. [Yet, I'm betting that you're shooting
    > from
    > the hip.]
    >
    > I'm NOT a lawyer. But, I SUSPECT that distributing such
    > firmware, and Windows-drivers, is NOT illegal. I'd argue that anything
    > that is offered up for anonymous download by the companies that
    > own it is then legally construed as 'in the public domain' and is
    > therefore
    > legally distributable.
    >
    > [In other words, I suspect that the 'distro-owners' have explored the
    > legality
    > of this before releasing their LiveCDs, etc. It's been going on so
    > long
    > that I would think we would have heard about it by now, and the
    > practice stopped,
    > if it was illegal.]


    First of all, I said "to my knowledge". Broadcom is very concerned
    about their intellectual property and is very protective about their
    drivers and their firmware. If they hadn't been caught violating the
    GPL over the Linux versions used in Linksys and other routers,
    development of the open-source driver would have been impossible.
    Because of their "paranoia", the bcm43xx development team has been
    very careful to maintain the clean-room approach, which is legal.

    I'm pretty sure that if a major distro like openSUSE, Fedora, Ubuntu,
    etc. were to include firmware in their distribution, Broadcom's
    lawyers would be calling.

    Larry

  6. #16
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    Default Re: Wait... how does any of this work?

    Quote Originally Posted by cookdav View Post
    I just went to the store today and bought a shirt. I can give/sell it to my neighbor
    or do whatever I want (because it doesn't say on the shirt that I can't).
    I assert that the same is true of software
    No, you cannot generalise from shirts to other things. You cannot go into a shop, buy a book and then proceed to make photocopies for everybody. You can however give or lend the book to somebody else. That's the first sale doctrine (look it up in Wikipedia).

    In fact you cannot even take the logo on the shirt and start printing your own shirts with the same design, if it's a copyrighted design.

    The lack of any kind of notice doesn't necessarily give you open slather on the work. If I take a picture, I don't have to attach a notice to it saying the copyright is mine. It happens automatically when I create it. You cannot happen upon my photo print on a cafe counter where I misplaced it and start using it. De facto I may have difficulty claiming it was my photo, especially if I lost the original media also, but I have not in principle lost my rights.

    If you look at novels and that sort of thing where they quote sayings, they are very careful to acknowledge copyrights. They even go to the extent of saying, well there are these works we can't find the author for and we did try in good faith, so if you are the author could you please contact us.

  7. #17
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    Default Re: Wait... how does any of this work?

    Quote Originally Posted by ken_yap View Post
    That's the first sale doctrine (look it up in Wikipedia).
    I'm quoting now from the overview section of that doctrine:

    "So, for example, if the copyright owner licenses someone to make a copy (such as by downloading), then that copy (meaning the tangible medium of expression onto which it was copied under license, be it a hard drive or removable storage medium) may lawfully be sold, lent, traded, or given away."

    Seems to me that this is saying that a distro can legally distribute it.

    I rest my case.

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