Copyright treated tounge in cheek

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Gordon, Mar 8, 2009.

  1. Gordon

    Gordon Guest

    Good to see someone taking rather different angle on copyright.

    The GPL GeeXboX License
    GeeXboX is more than just a software, it's a complete Linux distribution,
    including dozens of software.
    All the programs and libraries used by the GeeXboX are protected by their
    respective licenses.
    They are all free software and most of them are covered by the GNU General
    Public Licence.

    The GeeXboX itself, meaning all the scripts which are used in the building
    toolkit, configuration files, init files, logos but also all the patches
    that have been added to existent software (in a simple word, all that is
    included in the GeeXboX full archive) are covered by the GNU General Public

    There might be some confusion about what is required to safely distribute
    GPL'd software such as GeeXboX or its components as part (or as a
    standalone) of a product. To ensure that there is no confusion whatsoever,
    this page attempts to summarize what you should do to ensure you do not
    accidentally violate the law.
    Complying with the GeeXboX license is easy and completely free.
    U.S. and International Law protects copyright owners from the unauthorized
    reproduction, adaptation, display, distribution, etc of copyright protected
    works. Copyright violations (such as shipping GeeXboX in a manner contrary
    to its license) are subject to severe penalties. The courts can award up to
    $150,000 per product shipped without even showing any actual loss by the
    copyright holder. Criminal penalties are available for intentional acts
    undertaken for purposes of "commercial advantage" or "private financial

    Remember that GeeXboX is a complete distribution. Violating GeeXboX license
    means you also have violated license of every software that is part of
    GeeXboX, meaning Linux, MPlayer, uClibc, BusyBox (where the original copy of
    this license warning has been taken from) and many others ... Criminal
    penalties can engaged for EACH of these software.

    Nobody wants that to happen. Do everyone a favor and don't break the law --
    if you use GeeXboX and its components, you must comply with the GeeXboX
    GeeXboX is licensed under the GNU General Public License
    GeeXboX is licensed under the GNU General Public License , which is
    generally just abbreviated as the GPL license, or just the GPL. Anyone
    thinking of shipping GeeXboX as part of a product or as a standalone product
    (especially with customizations) should be familiar with the licensing terms
    under which they are allowed to use and distribute GeeXboX. You are advised
    to take a look over the

    * full text of the GNU General Public License , and
    * Frequently Asked Questions about the GNU GPL

    to be sure you (and your lawyers) fully understand them.

    The following is a quick summary for the impatient. If you carefully follow
    these steps, it will ensure that you are 100% authorized to ship GeeXboX
    with your product (or as a product), and have no reason to worry about
    lawsuits. You will be able to sleep peacefully at night knowing you have
    fulfilled all your licensing obligations.

    If you distribute a product, it should either be accompanied by full source
    for all GPL'd products (including GeeXboX and all of its components) and/or
    a written offer to supply the source for all GPL'd products for the cost of
    shipping and handling. The source has to be in its preferred machine
    readable form, so you cannot encrypt or obfuscate it. You are not required
    to provide full source for all the closed source applications that happen to
    be part of the system based on GeeXboX, though you can certainly do so if
    you feel like it. But providing source for the GPL licensed applications
    such as GeeXboX and all of its GPL components is mandatory.

    Accompanied by source generally means you distribute the full source code
    for all GPL'd products including GeeXboX along with your product, such as by
    placing it somewhere on an install CD. Full source code includes the
    ".config" files for each software included in GeeXboX but also all GeeXboX
    configuration and initialization scripts used when your shipping GeeXboX
    derivated binary was compiled, and any and all modifications you made to the
    GeeXboX (or its components) source code.

    A written offer generally means that somewhere in the documentation for your
    product, you write something like :

    The GPL source code contained in this product is available as a free
    download from http://blah.blah.blah/

    Alternatively, you can offer the source code by writing somewhere in the
    documentation for your product something like :

    If you would like a copy of the GPL source code contained in this product
    shipped to you on CD, please send $9.99 to address which covers the cost of
    preparing and mailing a CD to you.

    Keep in mind though that if you distribute GPL'd binaries online (as is
    often done when supplying a CD image of a Linux distribution), it is highly
    recommended that you make the corresponding source available online at the
    same place. Regardless, if you distribute a binary copy of GeeXboX online
    (such as part of a new product) you must either make source available online
    (i.e. accompanied by source) and/or inform those downloading the product of
    their right to obtain source (i.e. a written offer). Failure to do so is a
    violation of your licensing obligations.

    Some people have the mistaken understanding that if they use unmodified
    GPL'd source code, they do not need to distribute anything. This belief is
    not correct, and is not supported by the text of GPL. Please do re-read it
    -- you will find there is no such provision. If you distribute any GPL'd
    binaries, you must also make source available as discussed on this webpage.
    Gordon, Mar 8, 2009
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