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Thread: Legality of hard disk upgrades

  1. #1
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    Legality of hard disk upgrades

    This is a thread to discuss the legality of hard-disk upgrades brought up in the recent discussion about the knock-off turbonet cards... you can read the initial thred here:
    http://www.dealdatabase.com/forum/sh...5&pagenumber=1

    pweed and I were discussing the legality of hard drive upgrades... I am still curious about the subject so I am continuing the thread here.

    Now on to the discussion,

    I believe that the hard drive upgrades being sold online are not legal, as I believe TiVo holds the rights to the tivo specific software on the tivo systems. I also think that TiVo Inc has made a concious decision not to enact their rights against the retailers of the upgrade drives, but this still does not mean it is not an illegal violation of copyright laws.

    pweed made the comment of
    Well, "buddy" you are wrong... Have you read the GPL? If you have, read it again, and play close attention to the verbiage associated with 'derivative' and 'separate' works, as well as rights of distribution.
    Well pweed, yes I have read the GPL, I have developed GPLed software in the past, and I have been a Linux user for the past 11 years! Just because an application runs on Linux doesn't mean it falls under the GPL. By that logic, because Oracle 9i runs on Linux, it must be GPL! I'll have to grab a copy of that and run my business on it.

    Let me know what you all think

    -Jeff
    Last edited by brage; 05-21-2003 at 06:32 PM.

  2. #2
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    Re: Legality of hard disk upgrades

    Originally posted by brage
    This is a thread to discuss the legality of hard-disk upgrades brought up in the recent discussion about the knock-off turbonet cards... you can read the initial thred here:
    http://www.dealdatabase.com/forum/sh...5&pagenumber=1

    pweed and I were discussing the legality of hard drive upgrades... I am still curious about the subject so I am continuing the thread here.

    Now on to the discussion,

    I believe that the hard drive upgrades being sold online are not legal, as I believe TiVo holds the rights to the tivo specific software on the tivo systems. I also think that TiVo Inc has made a concious decision not to enact their rights against the retailers of the upgrade drives, but this still does not mean it is not an illegal violation of copyright laws.

    pweed made the comment of

    Well pweed, yes I have read the GPL, I have developed GPLed software in the past, and I have been a Linux user for the past 11 years! Just because an application runs on Linux doesn't mean it falls under the GPL. By that logic, because Oracle 9i runs on Linux, it must be GPL! I'll have to grab a copy of that and run my business on it.

    Let me know what you all think

    -Jeff
    You should re-read the GPL.

    I'm not suggesting that because the app runs on Linux that it is therefore subject to the GPL. Never implied that Oracle 9i is GPL because it runs on Linux. You've chosen a bad analogy because it is completely different than the discussion we are having.

    But guess what? If Oracle chose to distribute their software on a CD with GPL software on it (eg Linux); then any licensee of the software would have binary distribution rights. That would be a more appropriate analogy to the TiVo situation than the one you are currently making.

  3. #3
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    Re: Re: Legality of hard disk upgrades

    But guess what? If Oracle chose to distribute their software on a CD with GPL software on it (eg Linux); then any licensee of the software would have binary distribution rights. That would be a more appropriate analogy to the TiVo situation than the one you are currently making.
    Actually your statement here is completely incorrect. Just because a commercial application (read copyrighted) is distrubuted along with GPLed code (IE Linux kernel, GNU tools) does not mean that the distributor must offer all applications and code associated with it for free. If you say the TiVo code is GPLed then if that is the case where is the source for Tivo Central? An example of this is Redhat Advanced Server which includes commercial applications which are not GPLed.


    -j

  4. #4
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    Re: Legality of hard disk upgrades

    Originally posted by brage
    Actually your statement here is completely incorrect. Just because a commercial application (read copyrighted) is distrubuted along with GPLed code (IE Linux kernel, GNU tools) does not mean that the distributor must offer all applications and code associated with it for free. If you say the TiVo code is GPLed then if that is the case where is the source for Tivo Central? An example of this is Redhat Advanced Server which includes commercial applications which are not GPLed.


    -j
    This is just a jumble of points not related to the argument I've made. I've never said commercial applications and code should be made free; I've never said TiVo code is GPLed and they should reveal the source; and to reiterate, I've never said any code that runs on top of GPL'ed software is or should be subjected to the GPL.

    I've simply said that distribution of the software is subject to the terms of the GPL and that we are not doing anything illegal.

    Of course, you've already read this before making any of your arguments, but for those who haven't, here's an excerpt from the GPL:


    2. You may modify your copy or copies of the Program or any portion of it, thus forming a work based on the Program, and copy and distribute such modifications or work under the terms of Section 1 above, provided that you also meet all of these conditions:

    a) You must cause the modified files to carry prominent notices stating that you changed the files and the date of any change.

    b) You must cause any work that you distribute or publish, that in whole or in part contains or is derived from the Program or any part thereof, to be licensed as a whole at no charge to all third parties under the terms of this License.

    c) If the modified program normally reads commands interactively when run, you must cause it, when started running for such interactive use in the most ordinary way, to print or display an announcement including an appropriate copyright notice and a notice that there is no warranty (or else, saying that you provide a warranty) and that users may redistribute the program under these conditions, and telling the user how to view a copy of this License. (Exception: if the Program itself is interactive but does not normally print such an announcement, your work based on the Program is not required to print an announcement.)
    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.

    Thus, it is not the intent of this section to claim rights or contest your rights to work written entirely by you; rather, the intent is to exercise the right to control the distribution of derivative or collective works based on the Program.

    In addition, mere aggregation of another work not based on the Program with the Program (or with a work based on the Program) on a volume of a storage or distribution medium does not bring the other work under the scope of this License.


    Its point (c) that is pertinent here, and unless you are prepared to argue that the inclusion of TiVo's separate works on a single medium falls into the category of "mere aggregation" which it is clearly not, then you really have no argument. The GPL is painfully clear when it comes to the rights of licensees of GPL software. A company cannot include a separate and proprietary work onto the same medium as GPL software, then distribute it and then limit the licensees distribution rights at the same time.

    Read it here: http://www.fsf.org/licenses/gpl.html

  5. #5
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    The legality of hard disk upgrades would actually appear to be a moot point if Tivo has no plans on prosecuting the "offenders". Most of us here don't go the preloaded hard drive route and prefer to perform the upgrades ourselves. This discussion would be better served if it were taken to the Tivo Community Forum where a large number of participants would be targets for such a preloaded hard drive for performing their plug and pray upgrades.
    Please don't PM me or any other members looking for personal assistance. You'll do better by posting (after you've exhausted the search feature, of course) and taking advantage of the collective expertise of the membership instead of a single individual that may or may not be able to help you. Thank you and enjoy your stay at DDB!

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    Originally posted by captain_video
    The legality of hard disk upgrades would actually appear to be a moot point if Tivo has no plans on prosecuting the "offenders". Most of us here don't go the preloaded hard drive route and prefer to perform the upgrades ourselves. This discussion would be better served if it were taken to the Tivo Community Forum where a large number of participants would be targets for such a preloaded hard drive for performing their plug and pray upgrades.
    Exactly... I don't really care about it either way I was just curious about it reall because I still contend that in my interpretation of the GPL, a company can distribute their commercial apps along with GPL apps so long as they provide to anyone who requests it the source to the GPL apps directly used or modified. I believe the GPL only gives the licensee the right to redistribute the GPLed code and any direct modifications to the GPL code, but does not give the licensee the right to distribute the copyrighted applications of the licensor.

    Also I feel that Tivo is being hurt by some of the resellers which from what I have seen are selling drive upgrades with the "lifetime" hack... (perhaps not lou, but the guys on e-bay do)

    -j

  7. #7
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    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's not much room for interpretation here.

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    apparently there is or you wouldn't need to debate it

    --
    Riley

  9. #9
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    Originally posted by rc3105
    apparently there is or you wouldn't need to debate it

    --
    Riley
    So far, there has been no debate. The counter-points to my argument have been:

    1) tivo shouldn't have to release source
    2) commercial software isn't gpl just because it runs on gpl software
    3) commercial software providers shouldn't have to give their software away for free because they bundle it with gpl software

    none of the points brage raises directly address the issue of whether a licensee of GPL software has the right to redistribute it, along with any other software included on the same medium.

    You can't debate the negative of our claim to this right simply by changing the argument to something else.

    I'm not saying that my interpretation of the quoted text from the GPL can't be debated, but so far, noone has countered that point.

    Lou

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    Re: Re: Legality of hard disk upgrades

    Originally posted by pweed
    I've never said commercial applications and code should be made free; I've never said TiVo code is GPLed and they should reveal the source; and to reiterate, I've never said any code that runs on top of GPL'ed software is or should be subjected to the GPL.
    But weren't you telling me yesterday that your replacement drive upgrades were protected by the GNU GPL? I'm curious to hear how exactly this is so, since you've just contradicted yourself yet again.

    [b]
    I've simply said that distribution of the software is subject to the terms of the GPL and that we are not doing anything illegal.

    <snip Section 2 from the GNU GPL>

    Its point (c) that is pertinent here, and unless you are prepared to argue that the inclusion of TiVo's separate works on a single medium falls into the category of "mere aggregation" which it is clearly not, then you really have no argument. The GPL is painfully clear when it comes to the rights of licensees of GPL software. A company cannot include a separate and proprietary work onto the same medium as GPL software, then distribute it and then limit the licensees distribution rights at the same time.
    You conveniently left out Section 3, which states that:

    "3. 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.)

    The source code for a work means the preferred form of the work for making modifications to it. For an executable work, complete source code means all the source code for all modules it contains, plus any associated interface definition files, plus the scripts used to control compilation and installation of the executable. However, as a special exception, the source code distributed need not include anything that is normally distributed (in either source or binary form) with the major components (compiler, kernel, and so on) of the operating system on which the executable runs, unless that component itself accompanies the executable.

    If distribution of executable or object code is made by offering access to copy from a designated place, then offering equivalent access to copy the source code from the same place counts as distribution of the source code, even though third parties are not compelled to copy the source along with the object code. "

  11. #11
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    But weren't you telling me yesterday that your replacement drive upgrades were protected by the GNU GPL? I'm curious to hear how exactly this is so, since you've just contradicted yourself yet again.
    No, and I have not contradicted myself, in fact, I've been very consistent in my argument; it is you that continue to shift your arguments, as you've done yet again.

    What I said (how can you not see this, its in the thread you just responded to) is that "distribution of the software is subject to the terms of the GPL and that we are not doing anything illegal."

    Do you get it? If not, read it again. That is what I said.

    And the section I so conveniently quoted is the basis for that.

    Now, if you can explain why the section you claim "I so conveniently left out" supports your argument that what we are doing is illegal, then please expand upon that in a mature and thoughtful way, and I might respond again.

  12. #12
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    Originally posted by pweed
    No, and I have not contradicted myself, in fact, I've been very consistent in my argument; it is you that continue to shift your arguments, as you've done yet again.

    What I said (how can you not see this, its in the thread you just responded to) is that "distribution of the software is subject to the terms of the GPL and that we are not doing anything illegal."

    Do you get it? If not, read it again. That is what I said.

    And the section I so conveniently quoted is the basis for that.

    Now, if you can explain why the section you claim "I so conveniently left out" supports your argument that what we are doing is illegal, then please expand upon that in a mature and thoughtful way, and I might respond again.
    Hey, if you want to talk about a "mature and thoughtful manner", why don't you tell everyone why you began to resort to personally attacking me yesterday? I'm here to discuss the issues, so this is where that point ends, with me at least.

    Anyway, the argument isn't only about the legality of the hacks, but also about TiVo being required to release the source code as well. I'll try as best as I can to do it in a logical manner so that you and everyone else can at least try to understand. We're not talking about whether TiVo turns a blind eye or not. We're speaking strictly letter of law here.

    You claim your copying and distributed of TiVo's software is protected under the GNU GPL, because section 2 of the GNU GPL automatically licenses derivative or bundled works under the GNU GPL, as shown below:

    "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. "

    However, this where the gray area lies:

    ". 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. "

    Therefore, the questions are as follows:

    Is the TiVo software part of a whole, or just a separate program running in conjunction with the Linux kernel, which is licensed under the GNU GPL.

    If indeed the TiVo software is part of a whole, and distributed as a whole, then section 3 says that as long as the author distributes the work, the source code must accompany it or be readily available. You claimed earlier that the source code does not have to be distributed, only the binary code.

    This is where you are wrong.

    As long as Section 2 of the GNU GPL applies, so does section 3. Let me put it another way. The GNU GPL, as written (and this is its intent) does not allow someone to distribute executable only code that is licensed under the GNU GPL without revealing the source. Therefore something has to give. Either TiVo's software retains its proprietary license, minus the GPL'ed components, and you are not authorized to copy it, or they are required to distribute the source code along with the object code.

    SO tell me, which is it?

    Furthermore, Section 7 is as follows:

    "If, as a consequence of a court judgment or allegation of patent infringement or for any other reason (not limited to patent issues), conditions are imposed on you (whether by court order, agreement or otherwise) that contradict the conditions of this License, they do not excuse you from the conditions of this License. If you cannot distribute so as to satisfy simultaneously your obligations under this License and any other pertinent obligations, then as a consequence you may not distribute the Program at all. For example, if a patent license would not permit royalty-free redistribution of the Program by all those who receive copies directly or indirectly through you, then the only way you could satisfy both it and this License would be to refrain entirely from distribution of the Program. "

    This is where it makes TiVo's software patents null and void, if indeed you are correct and all of TiVo's software is GPL'ed.

  13. #13
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    My only claim is that we have the legal right to distribute the software, as specifically indicated by the GPL. TiVo's separate works are distributed as part of the whole, which is inclusive of the modified work, which is licensed by the GPL; to be more specific, we are not claiming that TiVo's separate works are released under the GPL - but because they are bundled as part of the whole with a GPL product, the licensee has the right to redistribute the program and the included works.

    This is clearly spelled out in the GPL. Which as you pointed out in an earlier thread, you've read many more times than myself; of course, that was not personal, right? Please.

    If you have a bone to pick with TiVo about whether they should be including or sharing the source of their separate works, because you think the GPL says they should, then by all means, go do that. Perhaps that IS your argument. But that is NOT the argument that you started.

    You accused me of being a thief on the AVSforum; and you did it in a cocky and arrogant manner. You also personally attacked JAFA, who has fairly competed with his products, yet you openly supported the actions of a thief against him.

    You did not read the information or consider the facts before you started aggressively pointing fingers, and promoting yourself as some greatly experienced veteran of the industry. I'd suggest you not go down the mine-is-bigger-than-yours route or you will lose.

    So please, stop your whining about 'personal attacks' and just suck it up, and calm down.

    Take a look at what you originally stated, and if you are still convinced what we are doing is illegal, than either stand your ground and agree to disagree, or revise your position. Its really that simple.
    Last edited by pweed; 05-29-2003 at 12:01 PM.

  14. #14
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    Your points noted (minus personal attacks.)

    I'm merely seeking answers, and I don't intend to defame you. It seems as though you have a bit of an ego problem, and view me and my arguments as a threat to you and your little business. All I can say to that is thanks. You just made me feel a whole lot bigger than you.

    I merely asked the question because jafa is claiming theft of intellectual property, which he has not secured or even applied for a patent for, while you freely use TiVo's intellectual property without their express written permission. Classic case of the pot calling the kettle black.

    Anyone who builds a turbonet is not a thief, since the design has remained unpatented for over a year now, and is now in the public domain. As I have explained many times over, it cannot be protected by copyright. Copyrighting PCB artwork is weak at best, and microcode contained in the ethernet controller was not developed by jafa. He has neither denied nor confirmed this, so my position remains the same.

    Anyway, back on topic I'd like you to explain how a Linux vendor like RedHat or SuSE distributes commercial products with certain versions of their Linux distributions, and can still retain proprietary licenses for the proprietary products. They are not obligated to release the object or source code, even though they release it as a bundled product or distribution.

    My reasoning is that if it can apply to them, then it can apply to TiVo, too. If this is true, since you don't have a license to distribute TiVo's software, what you are doing is violating copyright. I don't care if TiVo turns a blind eye to it. I am just interested in the letter of the law.

  15. #15
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    Originally posted by raj2001

    Anyway, back on topic I'd like you to explain how a Linux vendor like RedHat or SuSE distributes commercial products with certain versions of their Linux distributions, and can still retain proprietary licenses for the proprietary products. They are not obligated to release the object or source code, even though they release it as a bundled product or distribution.

    My reasoning is that if it can apply to them, then it can apply to TiVo, too. If this is true, since you don't have a license to distribute TiVo's software, what you are doing is violating copyright. I don't care if TiVo turns a blind eye to it. I am just interested in the letter of the law.
    Then you should read the GPL once again; redistribution is allowed. The same thing applies to the RedHat and SuSE distributions, if in fact, the original work is released under the GPL.

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