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Subject: Re: Licensing and Copyright Issues

Re: Licensing and Copyright Issues

From: Ray Lambert <>
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2007 17:52:10 -0400 (EDT)

Bryan Childs wrote:
> On 9/11/07, Ray Lambert <> wrote:
>> For my part, I am strongly against "TiVo-ization" and I believe that if
>> the GPLv3 DRM provisions prevent someone from taking our code and
>> "TiVo-izing" it without our knowledge or input, then I don't think
>> that's a bad thing.
> There are no small number of us that have discussed this area in IRC -
> and I think it needs to be said it's a bit of a hot potato. There's a
> very definite split on peoples views here. I personally am NOT against
> Tivoisation, and there are others who feel the same.

That's fine and I understand that view completely. But the thing to
remember (as I pointed out in my earlier post) is that it's not an all or
nothing type of thing. You can license under the GPL by default and
license to a commercial org under a different license that permits them to
use DRM or whatever else they want to use all day long. No problem.

What the GPL gives you is protection in the default case. So, if someone
did want to use the code for something that the GPL doesn't permit, we, as
the copyright holders, get to decide if that's a use that we're
comfortable with. If we are, we can license to that group as we see fit.
But if we're not, we have the legal authority to tell them to go pound

So, it's about control (and protection of our work through control of it).
 It's our work and we *should* control it. No outside party should have
the power to walk in and do whatever they want with it; it's not their
work. That's what the GPL is all about and that's why it permits dual
licensing (so the copyright holders themselves are not locked into their
own cage, so to speak).

> It's been pointed out and that were a company to do this with the Rockbox
> code, it would in fact be a port that's already 90% done, and all we'd
> then have to do is work out how to get round the "being unable to update
> the device unofficially" bit.

What's wrong with this picture?

We do all the work to develop the thing, then some company comes along and
"steals" it, makes a profit off it (which we get none of), and then we're
still stuck having to reverse-engineer it in order to use it?! How
exactly is that a good deal for us?

If a company wants to use our SW, lock it up, and make a profit off it,
they should come to us and negotiate for those privileges. What we want
to get in return is something for us to debate, but we should get
something. It's far from unreasonable to expect a royalty (even a fairly
large one!). Think how actual monetary *income* would benefit the group!
And there is absolutely nothing wrong with expecting this! I guarantee
you they will still get a better deal from us than they would from someone
else and it'll be much cheaper than developing it themselves.

Frankly, if you want to allow a company to do whatever they want with our
work (which, IMO, is essentially what you're saying) then you might as
well forget about fancy licenses altogether and just make it freeware!

> We'd STILL get the code contributions back from whoever tried to do this
> - and in my mind at least, that benefits Rockbox the project enormously.

And we can still get contributions back using a custom, non-GPL license
because we get to set the terms ourselves! :)

Received on 2007-09-11

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