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cwingert
05-28-2003, 02:07 PM
Just wanted to continue the discussion, if anyone else is interested.

http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=114944

To answer Bott's question of "Where would I be?"
(a) cwingert1 and lose my whopping all important post count
(b) a lurker

Just Kidding Bott.

Seriously, (while I appreciate your community effort), I don't see why AVS can't handle a heated debate. We weren't cursing up a storm, it was a family-oriented debate.

Anyway, I am really interested in hearing tivoupgrade's answer to Raj and myself's GPL questions.

SirWill
05-28-2003, 03:55 PM
Yes I would like to see some answers in this area too.

PTVupgrade
05-28-2003, 03:57 PM
OK - so here's is what i ended up sending as PM to you and a similar one to Raj:

I'm not implying that we have any sort of special deal with TiVo (although it is true that over 2 years ago I sat down with Richard Bullwinkle and the head of TiVo's legal counsel and reviewed our business model); they had no issues.

In any case, that is not the issue, as the GPL does spell this out very clearly. Here is an excerpt:

"These requirements apply to the modified work as a whole. If identifiable sections of that work are not derived from the Program, and can be reasonably considered independent and separate works in themselves, then this License, and its terms, do not apply to those sections when you distribute them as separate works. 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."

------

There is good reason for this; the Free Software Foundation does not want third parties hindering distribution of GPL software by simply including proprietary software along with it. That is why we have the right to distribute the software, even though its not been explicitly released as GPL software. Additionally, if TiVo's software were distributed separately, as most separate works are, then it would be a different story. But it makes sense the TiVo does it, since the subscription costs that keeps the box active is essentially the licensing revenue.

Lou

raj2001
05-28-2003, 04:11 PM
After doing research, it appears as though you are right about this one.

But this means a few things:

Anyone can manufacture TiVo DVR's using the same software, they just have to not use the TiVo trademarks or logo.

TiVo has to release the source code for all components of the TiVo DVR, under the provisions of the GNU GPL

TiVo's patents on its recording technology are null and void

Since the turbonet drivers were included in version 3.0, they are now covered under the GNU GPL, and therefore freely distributable by anyone, whether for profit or not.

DirecTV and NDS need to release the source code for DirecTV DVR's powered by TiVo, including code that enables the access cards

Macrovision needs to release the source code for their components of DirecTV DVR's

But it still does not make legal (unless you have permission from TiVo)-

You using TiVo's trademark and brand name on your website. This is similar to people on ebay who sell RedHat linux CD's get their auctions closed, because they use the "Red Hat" name on their auctions.

SirWill
05-28-2003, 04:18 PM
Lou,

So what you are saying is because Tivo ONLY offers their software as a bundle with the GPL OS, it becomes a part of the distribution.

If they also sold Just their software comercially (seperatly) and bundled it this would NOT be true?

What about your upgrade for larger (137gb+) hard drives. Obviously you wrote some custom (or had written) code to make that work. Should this not be covered under GPL?

PTVupgrade
05-28-2003, 04:22 PM
Thanks for giving credit where it is due. Too bad that didn't appear in any of your postings on the AVSforum.

As for some of your other comments, some responses:

1) if anyone could manufacture a DVR which could run TiVo's software it would be great, especially if they could do it cheaper than its currently being done; however, they'd have to do it in a way that didn't violate TiVo's patents. if they succeeded, and coudl do it cheaper, and legally, then that means there would be more subscribers for TiVo, and that is how they make their money; subscriptions.

2) no, TiVo does not. all of their code isn't GPL.

3) no, their patents are not null and void. that's just silly.

4) yes, turbonet drivers are distributable because they are distributed on the same medium as GPL software.

5) DirecTV and NDS don't have to release source for anything that they've written that is considered to be a separate work.

6) macrovision doesn't have to do squat

7) the use of a tradename in actual language, such as TiVo(R) or SGI(R) is considered acceptable, with the appropriate credit to the owner of the respective mark. Typically, the (R) only needs to appear once in a prominent place. What is typically considered unacceptable is using a logo, such as the TiVo logo, without written permission.

My guess is that you've done no research on this.

Also note that we do not use the TiVo logo on our site at all. Our competitors do, and TiVo has made no issue with this.

Raj, consider curbing a bit of the yapping and doing a bit of research before you make a big stink about things you really don't know too much about.

I'm trying to run a small business here and put food on my table. I do not have a lot of time to spend arguing with a snotty student who thinks he knows more than folks who have been around for quite some time and actually have some real world experience.

raj2001
05-28-2003, 04:23 PM
Here's the relevant section from the GNU GPL: (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html)

"You may copy and distribute the Program (or a work based on it, under Section 2) in object code or executable form under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above provided that you also do one of the following:

a) Accompany it with the complete corresponding machine-readable source code, which must be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,

b) Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three
years, to give any third party, for a charge no more than your
cost of physically performing source distribution, a complete
machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code, to be
distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium
customarily used for software interchange; or,

c) Accompany it with the information you received as to the offer
to distribute corresponding source code. (This alternative is
allowed only for noncommercial distribution and only if you
received the program in object code or executable form with such
an offer, in accord with Subsection b above.)

raj2001
05-28-2003, 04:42 PM
Originally posted by pweed
As for some of your other comments, some responses:

1) if anyone could manufacture a DVR which could run TiVo's software it would be great, especially if they could do it cheaper than its currently being done; however, they'd have to do it in a way that didn't violate TiVo's patents. if they succeeded, and coudl do it cheaper, and legally, then that means there would be more subscribers for TiVo, and that is how they make their money; subscriptions.

These are two things I disagree with, and I am beginning to think I was right all along. (Sorry, no credit is now due to you :) )

So you're saying that when you distribute a device (har drive part for a TiVo DVR) containing TiVo's patented software that you're not breaking any of their patents by manufacturing your own device? I remember jafa using the opposite to argument as to why Turbonet was proprietary and any copies of it would be "illegal".

Secondly, I don't think that TiVo makes all of its money from subscriptions. DirecTV DVR users make up a huge portion of TiVo users, and many of us don't pay a sub fee. Those of us who do, pay a sub fee to DirecTV who licenses the technology from TiVo.


2) no, TiVo does not. all of their code isn't GPL.

This is a direct contradiction to your statements. You said (or rather the GNU GPL says) that any derivative work, as long as it's bundled together to form a whole, is covered under the GNU GPL. BTW, See my post above concerning source code.


3) no, their patents are not null and void. that's just silly.

But you just said in a post before that their entire software distribution is now GPL'ed. Their patents are contained in the software, which is now freely distributable under the GNU GPL.


4) yes, turbonet drivers are distributable because they are distributed on the same medium as GPL software.

Glad you and I agree on that. Jafa doesn't agree with this though.


5) DirecTV and NDS don't have to release source for anything that they've written that is considered to be a separate work.

It's part of a whole (DirecTV DVR), as you mentioned above, and is therefore covered by the GNU GPL. This gets better :)


6) macrovision doesn't have to do squat

Reason being? Their software is also part of TiVo's DirecTV DVR, and is part of that whole that includes GPL'ed software. And since they're distributed together, they're all covered under the GNU GPL.


7) the use of a tradename in actual language, such as TiVo(R) or SGI(R) is considered acceptable, with the appropriate credit to the owner of the respective mark. Typically, the (R) only needs to appear once in a prominent place. What is typically considered unacceptable is using a logo, such as the TiVo logo, without written permission.

I'll give you that one, since TiVo allows it in their trademark use policy.


Raj, consider curbing a bit of the yapping and doing a bit of research before you make a big stink about things you really don't know too much about.

I'm trying to run a small business here and put food on my table. I do not have a lot of time to spend arguing with a snotty student who thinks he knows more than folks who have been around for quite some time and actually have some real world experience.

My my. You really like to make blind assumptions without knowing anything about my character. Personal insults do me nothing. The facts are on my side.

FYI, I'm going to grad school (part time, paying for it with the earnings from my full time job), and I've been in the electronics and computer industry for over half a decade. That in no way makes me a "snotty student". I probably have more "real world experience" than you do. But I'm not the subject of the discussion here. Trademarks, patents and TiVo are.

PTVupgrade
05-28-2003, 05:07 PM
These are two things I disagree with, and I am beginning to think I was right all along. (Sorry, no credit is now due to you :) )


You are still wrong.


So you're saying that when you distribute a device (har drive part for a TiVo DVR) containing TiVo's patented software that you're not breaking any of their patents by manufacturing your own device? I remember jafa using the opposite to argument as to why Turbonet was proprietary and any copies of it would be "illegal".

Never said that. TiVo's software isn't patented. What I said is that someone who builds a DVR that could run the TiVo software has to do it in a way that doesn't violate TiVo's patents. They do own a bunch of them.


Secondly, I don't think that TiVo makes all of its money from subscriptions. DirecTV DVR users make up a huge portion of TiVo users, and many of us don't pay a sub fee. Those of us who do, pay a sub fee to DirecTV who licenses the technology from TiVo.



DirecTV licenses the TiVo technology from TiVo and they pay TiVo for it. For TiVo to thrive, they are counting on subscription revenue. They used to lose money making and distributing the DVRs (especially when they subsidized Sony and Philips to do so). Now they barely break even (perhaps make a few $) on the sale of each box. Its about new subscribers for them. Read their annual report.



This is a direct contradiction to your statements. You said (or rather the GNU GPL says) that any derivative work, as long as it's bundled together to form a whole, is covered under the GNU GPL. BTW, See my post above concerning source code.


No it it isn't and I didn't say that. What I said is that we have a right to distribute the code because of what is said in the GPL.


But you just said in a post before that their entire software distribution is now GPL'ed. Their patents are contained in the software, which is now freely distributable under the GNU GPL.


No I didn't. I said that because they distribute their software on the same medium, that as a licensee, I have a right to distribute it.


Glad you and I agree on that. Jafa doesn't agree with this though.


Jafa and I see eye to eye at 100%; its the microcode he's not happy about. And people like you.


It's part of a whole (DirecTV DVR), as you mentioned above, and is therefore covered by the GNU GPL. This gets better :)


Wrong.


Reason being? Their software is also part of TiVo's DirecTV DVR, and is part of that whole that includes GPL'ed software. And since they're distributed together, they're all covered under the GNU GPL.


I don't even know what you are talking about now...



My my. You really like to make blind assumptions without knowing anything about my character. Personal insults do me nothing. The facts are on my side.

Please. I've made no assumptions at all. Go back and re-read the drivel you posted on the AVSforum.


FYI, I'm going to grad school (part time, paying for it with the earnings from my full time job), and I've been in the electronics and computer industry for over half a decade. That in no way makes me a "snotty student". I probably have more "real world experience" than you do. But I'm not the subject of the discussion here. Trademarks, patents and TiVo are.

Whatever. You are still snotty. And unprofessional.

Do your homework.

raj2001
05-28-2003, 05:22 PM
Originally posted by pweed

You are still wrong.

Without you giving me a reason, I'm still right (and this thread turns into a shouting match).



Never said that. TiVo's software isn't patented. What I said is that someone who builds a DVR that could run the TiVo software has to do it in a way that doesn't violate TiVo's patents. They do own a bunch of them.

Then if not the software, which part of the TiVo is patented? The recording and search technology is part of the software.



No it it isn't and I didn't say that. What I said is that we have a right to distribute the code because of what is said in the GPL.

So now you shift your position. BTW, you still didn't answer my question about source code.



No I didn't. I said that because they distribute their software on the same medium, that as a licensee, I have a right to distribute it.

But you just said that in order for someone to manufacture a TiVo DVR, they have to do it in such a way as to not violate any patents. Some of TiVo's patents are contained in their software. You cannot copy their patented software without paying them royalties.


Jafa and I see eye to eye at 100%; its the microcode he's not happy about. And people like you.

We've already established that the microcode is not owned by him, but rather ASIX. Jafa and you probably see eye to eye because you both can overcharge people :)



Wrong.


I love to see you contradict yourself.



I don't even know what you are talking about now...


Translation: Raj is right.


Please. I've made no assumptions at all. Go back and re-read the drivel you posted on the AVSforum.

I was referring to you talking about my "real world experience" of which you assumed I had none.

Now you go do your homework :)

PTVupgrade
05-28-2003, 05:34 PM
It is you who are continuing to shift the argument.

Several hours ago, you accused me of violating TiVo's copyrights by distributing their software. I've given you plenty of reasons why this isn't the case.

You want to be right about a bunch of other stuff which isn't relavent, and although it might be interesting for others to discuss, it has no bearing on the accusation you made, or the fact that in spite of the number of times you claimed to have read the GPL, you still didn't undertand it.

Here is a link to a list of patents owned by TiVo:

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=0&f=S&l=50&TERM1=TiVo&FIELD1=&co1=AND&TERM2=&FIELD2=&d=ptxt

You could have very easily found that yourself.

We are not violating TiVo's patents by redistributing the software.

If you want to go build a DVR that runs TiVo's software, which is freely redistributable, by all means do it, but don't violate their intellectual property.

Meanwhile, you can complain all you want about the prices that the market bears for our products and services; its a free market, and there is competition out there that we must be responsive to.

However, when it comes to unfair competition, trademark theft, and theft of intellectual property, its certainly not something that should be tolerated.

And I will not sit back and be accused of breaking the law, when we've been the victim of that ourselves.

SirWill
05-28-2003, 05:40 PM
Then if not the software, which part of the TiVo is patented? The recording and search technology is part of the software.

I don't think the software is patented, I think the patents are on the formula's, methods, and functionality.

The software would have patents inside the software as far as formulas are concerned but the software itself would just plain be copywrited.

I was reading a lot of the common questions on the GNU GPL site.

Can I have a GPL-covered program and an unrelated non-free program on the same computer?
Yes. The "mere aggregation" clause in the GPL makes this permission explicit, but that only reinforces what we believe would be true anyway.

Tivo is selling a computer. On the computer is a Free OS. Pre installed on the computer is a number of programs. Many of witch are ran independent of each other.

I'd like to incorporate GPL-covered software in my proprietary system. Can I do this?
You cannot incorporate GPL-covered software in a proprietary system. The goal of the GPL is to grant everyone the freedom to copy, redistribute, understand, and modify a program. If you could incorporate GPL-covered software into a non-free system, it would have the effect of making the GPL-covered software non-free too.
A system incorporating a GPL-covered program is an extended version of that program. The GPL says that any extended version of the program must be released under the GPL if it is released at all. This is for two reasons: to make sure that users who get the software get the freedom they should have, and to encourage people to give back improvements that they make.

However, in many cases you can distribute the GPL-covered software alongside your proprietary system. To do this validly, you must make sure that the free and non-free programs communicate at arms length, that they are not combined in a way that would make them effectively a single program.

The difference between this and "incorporating" the GPL-covered software is partly a matter of substance and partly form. The substantive part is this: if the two programs are combined so that they become effectively two parts of one program, then you can't treat them as two separate programs. So the GPL has to cover the whole thing.

If the two programs remain well separated, like the compiler and the kernel, or like an editor and a shell, then you can treat them as two separate programs--but you have to do it properly. The issue is simply one of form: how you describe what you are doing. Why do we care about this? Because we want to make sure the users clearly understand the free status of the GPL-covered software in the collection.

If people were to distribute GPL-covered software calling it "part of" a system that users know is partly proprietary, users might be uncertain of their rights regarding the GPL-covered software. But if they know that what they have received is a free program plus another program, side by side, their rights will be clear.


So it looks to me like Tivo CAN have a GPL OS, GPL programs and modules on the OS, and have Private NON GPL programs installed on the computer.




We've already established that the microcode is not owned by him, but rather ASIX. Jafa and you probably see eye to eye because you both can overcharge people

I am not sure that you did establish that the microcode is NOT owned by Jafa. Who says he is using their code? Just because they offer some basic code does NOT mean HE is using it.

Zirak
05-28-2003, 05:41 PM
I guess the part I don't understand is that if you are allowed to distribute tivo's code since it falls under GPL because it is being distributed on the same medium, then since it is covered by GPL, why it it that tivo doesn't have to release the souce code?

My guess is that the portion of the GPL that was posted is abridged sufficiently to give rise to that confusion, but a full reading would show that "falling under GPL" as referred to in this section does not imply a requirement to release source code, but only the binaries. I certainly haven't bothered to wade through it, but then my butt isn't on the line distributing tivo's code.

PTVupgrade
05-28-2003, 05:50 PM
Originally posted by SirWill
I don't think the software is patented, I think the patents are on the formula's, methods, and functionality.

The software would have patents inside the software as far as formulas are concerned but the software itself would just plain be copywrited.

I was reading a lot of the common questions on the GNU GPL site.

Can I have a GPL-covered program and an unrelated non-free program on the same computer?
Yes. The "mere aggregation" clause in the GPL makes this permission explicit, but that only reinforces what we believe would be true anyway.

Tivo is selling a computer. On the computer is a Free OS. Pre installed on the computer is a number of programs. Many of witch are ran independent of each other.

I'd like to incorporate GPL-covered software in my proprietary system. Can I do this?
You cannot incorporate GPL-covered software in a proprietary system. The goal of the GPL is to grant everyone the freedom to copy, redistribute, understand, and modify a program. If you could incorporate GPL-covered software into a non-free system, it would have the effect of making the GPL-covered software non-free too.
A system incorporating a GPL-covered program is an extended version of that program. The GPL says that any extended version of the program must be released under the GPL if it is released at all. This is for two reasons: to make sure that users who get the software get the freedom they should have, and to encourage people to give back improvements that they make.

However, in many cases you can distribute the GPL-covered software alongside your proprietary system. To do this validly, you must make sure that the free and non-free programs communicate at arms length, that they are not combined in a way that would make them effectively a single program.

The difference between this and "incorporating" the GPL-covered software is partly a matter of substance and partly form. The substantive part is this: if the two programs are combined so that they become effectively two parts of one program, then you can't treat them as two separate programs. So the GPL has to cover the whole thing.

If the two programs remain well separated, like the compiler and the kernel, or like an editor and a shell, then you can treat them as two separate programs--but you have to do it properly. The issue is simply one of form: how you describe what you are doing. Why do we care about this? Because we want to make sure the users clearly understand the free status of the GPL-covered software in the collection.

If people were to distribute GPL-covered software calling it "part of" a system that users know is partly proprietary, users might be uncertain of their rights regarding the GPL-covered software. But if they know that what they have received is a free program plus another program, side by side, their rights will be clear.


So it looks to me like Tivo CAN have a GPL OS, GPL programs and modules on the OS, and have Private NON GPL programs installed on the computer.

This to me sounds like PVRUpgrade can NOT distribute the os legally, BUT Tivo is aware of his business, and his practices and has chosen to allow him to do such.



I am not sure that you did establish that the microcode is NOT owned by Jafa. Who says he is using their code? Just because they offer some basic code does NOT mean HE is using it.

Finally!

This could certainaly be the basis of disagreement here, however it is our interpretation (and the interpretation of our lawyers) that this is not a case of 'mere aggregation' due the nature of how the components interoperate on this particular computer.

And Zirak - your point is also appreciated. I've spent several years on this particular issue. And I absolutely want to hear opposing views on the topic; I'd rather there be no mystery about this, once and for all.

Lou

SirWill
05-28-2003, 06:00 PM
Originally posted by pweed
Finally!

This could certainaly be the basis of disagreement here, however it is our interpretation (and the interpretation of our lawyers) that this is not a case of 'mere aggregation' due the nature of how the components interoperate on this particular computer.

Lou

OK, However in my limited knowledge (Note I am not claiming to know ANYTHING) through what I read today for the first time ever....

It looks to me like the only way they can NOT distribute the source code for their proprietery software is to keep it at an arms distance from the GPL version of the software.

My ONLY reason for getting in to this is just to learn something.

I think there is a lot of grey area in how integrated the stuff is.

I don't think you have any worry's in what you do. If Tivo had objections to the way you sell your upgraded drives preconfigured then I'd think they would of said something LONG before now. In fact they know what you are doing. So long as you don't drasticaly change your business practice you should be fine. (Note I am not a lawyer either ;) You obviously have done a LOT of research on this. That is good to know that you have done the leg work, I hope the lawyers that you had look in to it has a LOT of experience in the GPL.

I still have one question. Shouldn't your driver for Large Hard Drives be included in the GPL? If not why is it not? Is it not derived from existing GPL source code?

PTVupgrade
05-28-2003, 06:13 PM
Originally posted by SirWill


I still have one question. Shouldn't your driver for Large Hard Drives be included in the GPL? If not why is it not? Is it not derived from existing GPL source code?

Yes, it should. And licensees of it are entitled to the source. Here's the rub... we don't have it. We are trying to get it from our contractor. We'll have it soon. And we are going to release it.

As for grey areas, they are abundant.

Having been the first business to offer upgrades, I approached TiVo and formed a relationship when other existed. We've always ensured that we wouldn't disrupt TiVo's relationship with its customers.

They've never had a problem with what we do, but have never officially acknowleged it, either. Fact is, we are responsible for keeping many TiVo customers loyal because of the upgrade path, and I think they appreciate that. We've not disrupted their revenue stream either - remember TiVo needs new customers, not just a small base of people throwing out old boxes and buying new ones, to thrive in this marketplace.

Anyway, I have to go for now. Will check in again later.

SirWill
05-28-2003, 06:22 PM
Originally posted by pweed
Yes, it should. And licensees of it are entitled to the source. Here's the rub... we don't have it. We are trying to get it from our contractor. We'll have it soon. And we are going to release it.

As for grey areas, they are abundant.

Having been the first business to offer upgrades, I approached TiVo and formed a relationship when other existed. We've always ensured that we wouldn't disrupt TiVo's relationship with its customers.

They've never had a problem with what we do, but have never officially acknowleged it, either. Fact is, we are responsible for keeping many TiVo customers loyal because of the upgrade path, and I think they appreciate that. We've not disrupted their revenue stream either - remember TiVo needs new customers, not just a small base of people throwing out old boxes and buying new ones, to thrive in this marketplace.

Anyway, I have to go for now. Will check in again later.

Thank you. I don't think the grey areas should be used to imply that anyone related to tivo software distribution is doing anything illegal. Both sides have some good facts.

As for the original Jafa Design being copied. The fact that they followed the EXACT layout and copied everything is what makes it illegal. If they change the board layout it MIGHT clear some hurdles. What we don't actually know is if they copied ANY embeded code on the board, or if Jafa uses the canned microcode. He might he might not, only he would know. (And someone who can read the code direct from the chips).

His drivers resident on the Tivo are clearly part of a distribution now. And if there is ANY variation from Jafa's design to the canned .pdf sheet then just changing the board layout MAY NOT be enough.

I'm done for a few hours, it has been interesting today. Will check in in several hours. Off or some family time.

BubbleLamp
05-28-2003, 06:48 PM
Can't you guys do this in private email instead of this forum?

raj2001
05-28-2003, 06:51 PM
Sirwill,

You da man.

It does mean though, that anyone selling preconfigured TiVo drives with TiVo software is in violation of copyright. TiVo, however, does not enforce the copyright, due to its friendly nature with TiVo hackers and the TiVo hacking community, and in fact any drive upgrades will bring TiVo money.

Lou could have said this all along and I would have agreed with him, for it is the same reason that I feel safe opening up my TiVos and playing around with them.

Despite being repeatedly insulted and belittled by Lou, I wasn't trying to hurt him or his business. I just wanted an answer. Sirwill, you've provided just that.

JJBliss
05-28-2003, 06:56 PM
Originally posted by BubbleLamp
Can't you guys do this in private email instead of this forum?


Absolutley not.

This is EXACTLY what you want in an open forum.

Conversations like this one are good for the tivo world, and dealdatabase has never censored open, calm, well thought out conversation.

I think it's in the appropriate forum, and it is better to be done here, then be shutdown unceremoniously, like it was at tivocommunity.

We can be a refuge for those who want to discuss things like this, extraction, etc.. (yes, I know we don't discuss everything). This conversation can bring no heat on us.

It's fine.

cwingert
05-28-2003, 07:53 PM
FWIW, the reason the thread got pulled is all the bagging on the big AVS advertisers.

(ie 9th tee)

And not the heated discussion.

cwingert
05-28-2003, 08:16 PM
I personally am not a lawyer, but I have worked on a project that used Linux as the OS for some of the components. The entire system was proprietary.

Their interpretation is very simillar to what Raj has insisted all along. This is the reason why TiVo's Linux Kernel and associated GPL software is available for download on the TiVo server.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to who's lawyer is better in court. I would assume that TiVo the corporation has an advantage over you (as you sound like you are a small operation).

It sounds like you have ties with TiVo. If I were you, I would create a contract with TiVo that allows you to distribute their software.

One of the big sticky spots for you should be upgrading someone that doesn't have a subscription to TiVo service.

My advice is CYA.

PTVupgrade
05-28-2003, 08:43 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by raj2001
[B]
cwingert - i appreciate your comments; i almost agree with what you are saying, but to take it a step further, i think it has more to with money, and precedent, as to whether TiVo would make a stink over any grey areas. not sure that it would ever end up in court because that just costs everybody money, and i don't know what the upside of that would be for either party.

i do feel strongly that if you take a step back from the issue, and look at what stalling et al envisioned when they created the free software foundation and the GPL, that this is a great example of what they wanted to see.

TiVo could not have affordably built a product and service like they have without leveraging the contributions of the GPL community. We could not have built a business such as ours without their contribution, etc etc.

As for the subscriber/non-subscriber issue, I don't know that it would really be a concern; since a person cant use the TiVo service (legally) without a subscription, its sort of a moot point. Regardless, the right to distribute is the right to distribute. Rights of use are different, and that is between the end-user and TiVo. We have no intention of disrupting that aspect of the relationship.

BubbleLamp
05-28-2003, 10:14 PM
Originally posted by JJBliss
Absolutley not.

This is EXACTLY what you want in an open forum.

Conversations like this one are good for the tivo world, and dealdatabase has never censored open, calm, well thought out conversation.

I think it's in the appropriate forum, and it is better to be done here, then be shutdown unceremoniously, like it was at tivocommunity.

We can be a refuge for those who want to discuss things like this, extraction, etc.. (yes, I know we don't discuss everything). This conversation can bring no heat on us.

It's fine.

Excuse me JJ, but these sorts of endless rants have been banned here before. The name of this forum is Tivo Hacks, not who understands the GPL the best. At the very least it should be moved to a General Discussions area, or one can be created especially for these diatribes.

JJBliss
05-28-2003, 10:55 PM
Originally posted by BubbleLamp
Excuse me JJ, but these sorts of endless rants have been banned here before. The name of this forum is Tivo Hacks, not who understands the GPL the best. At the very least it should be moved to a General Discussions area, or one can be created especially for these diatribes.

OK, before this becomes a fight between US.....

My "absolutley not" was not a scolding or a imperative, it was merely an emphatic opinion.

I disagree that this is an endless rant, and it is segregated to a single thread, which as is the nature of this forum, you don't have to read if you don't want to.

I have no problem moving it to a general forum, you're suggestion is well taken. I hope I didn't step on your toes with my comments, it's just what I believed to be true.

raj2001
05-28-2003, 11:47 PM
Originally posted by cwingert
I personally am not a lawyer, but I have worked on a project that used Linux as the OS for some of the components. The entire system was proprietary.

Their interpretation is very simillar to what Raj has insisted all along. This is the reason why TiVo's Linux Kernel and associated GPL software is available for download on the TiVo server.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to who's lawyer is better in court. I would assume that TiVo the corporation has an advantage over you (as you sound like you are a small operation).



Your first point has actually been touched on before, with a huge difference of opinion existing between Linus Torvalds and Richard Stallman (FSF). From what I understand, Linus' position on Linux and the GPL was that anyone can use the Linux kernel to bundle with and run their proprietary software, and keep their source closed. Richard Stallman's position was that if someone bundles any GNU GPL software, that all software automatically becomes covered under the GNU GPL. They have been forever disagreeing on that, and IIRC, they haven't agreed ever since.

raj2001
05-29-2003, 08:03 AM
Originally posted by pweed
[QUOTE]Originally posted by raj2001
[B]TiVo could not have affordably built a product and service like they have without leveraging the contributions of the GPL community.

I don't believe that to be true. Let's look at some of their competitors:

Microsoft Ultimate TV - Windows CE
Scientific Atlanta 8000 PVR - PowerTV (proprietary)
ReplayTV - ?

raj2001
05-29-2003, 08:05 AM
Originally posted by cwingert
FWIW, the reason the thread got pulled is all the bagging on the big AVS advertisers.

(ie 9th tee)

And not the heated discussion.

AVS has even filtered out the names of some of those sites' competitors. You can't even PM someone with the website address, all you see is a bunch of stars.

geek_bear
06-15-2003, 02:03 AM
Turbonet cards do not contain any microcode or even any programmable parts. They have:
an Asix ax88796 ethernet mac/phy
a 74ac374 (octal d-type flip-flop)
a reset monitor chip
crystal
ethernet transformer
ethernet jack
LEDs
bunch of resistors/caps

There is nothing here that is 'proprietary'. All of the signals except for one are a direct connect to the Tivo motherboard. What is proprietary is the precise layout of the board (protected by copyright), and this is what the fake turbonets got in trouble with. Reverse engineering it to see how it works is legal. If somebody does their own layout, and sells a 'SuperChargedNet' board, they are in the clear. (IANAL)

If you want to build your own ethernet card for your tivo, you can buy a development board with the proper chip on it from:
http://www.edtp.com/

Here is a picture of a (mostly) working example. It has some problems under high load that seem to be due to the very poor layout of the board, specifically power supply issues. Adding more decoupling caps made it much more reliable.

Roy

jetspies
07-25-2003, 05:10 AM
Originally posted by pweed

I'm not implying that we have any sort of special deal with TiVo (although it is true that over 2 years ago I sat down with Richard Bullwinkle and the head of TiVo's legal counsel and reviewed our business model); they had no issues.


pweed:

I forwarded your statement to TiVo's lawyers to verify your claims. I'll summarize their response:

The GPL does not cover any of TiVo's proprietary software. TiVo's proprietary software is not combined with software under GPL, it is separately copyrighted software and is aggregated for distribution purposes. Such aggregation, by itself, does not subject proprietary code to the terms of the GPL.

Unless someone has a signed agreement with TiVo, they do not have the right to redistribute TiVo's copyrighted software._ This is clearly stated in TiVo's Service Agreement which can be found on TiVo's web site, http://www.tivo.com/privacy. Of course, people do have a right to redistribute software specifically released under the GPL. The software under GPL can be found on TiVo Inc's website, http://www.tivo.com.

TiVo has a licensing program pursuant to which it licenses its propretary software to consumer electronics manufacturers and service providers. Only those entities with written agreements signed by TiVo may redistribute TiVo's proprietary software pursuant to the terms and conditions of those individual agreements.

If anyone has any questions on these issues, the contact info for TiVo's legal staff can be found at http://www.tivo.com.

PTVupgrade
07-25-2003, 10:35 AM
Well, unfortunately, I'm not at liberty to tell you the details of the discussion I had with TiVo's lawyers several years ago.

However, this is the first time the issue of 'aggregation' has been brought up as a counter to my argument; and as I said earlier, as far as I'm concerned its the only arguable position to take.

If you read the 'arguments' presented on this forum; I'm not the one who has argued in circles; its our detractors who have.

Our argument has been consistent, and singular; it is not mere aggregation for a variety of reasons, we do have the right to redistribute, and btw, we have been doing so for three years, with implicit permission from TiVo.