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Thread: Legality of hard disk upgrades

  1. #16
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    Originally posted by pweed
    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.
    Redistribution of TiVo's modifications to existing free software, yes. They already do this. Their proprietary software which they designed from scratch, no.

    The GNU GPL says:
    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.

    I am absolutely positive that there are software components in TiVo's DVR's that were not derived from any GPL'ed software. These can be "reasonably considered independent and separate works in themselves" therefore "this License, and its terms, do not apply to those sections when you distribute them as separate works."

    Therefore, TiVo is selling you a computer with software on it. Some are GPL'ed components, others are proprietary and closed source. You're allowed to copy the GPL'ed components. TiVo even lets you download them freely from their website. You're not, however, allowed to distribute their proprietary software, because they can be considered as separate works, and as such are not covered under the GNU GPL.

    Therefore anyone distributing an image of an entire TiVo DVR is indeed in violation of TiVo's copyright.

  2. #17
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    This is the verbiage from the GPL:

    ----

    "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. "

    ----

    So your point is no longer valid.

    Want to try another angle, perhaps?

  3. #18
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    Originally posted by pweed
    Want to try another angle, perhaps?
    I'll bold the relevant sections which you conveniently twist to suit your own purpose:


    "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.

    TiVo's proprietary software isn't based on any GPL'ed components. In other words, TiVo's proprietary programs (myworld etc) are not based on any code which is licensed under the terms of the GNU GPL. If you read correctly, the above provision only deals with derivative works, i.e. "sections of that work which are
    derived
    from the Program".


    Furthermore:

    "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."

    Again, the proprietary components of the TiVo software distribution are not based on any code that is licensed under the GNU GPL. For that to have happened, TiVo would have had to have used GPL'ed code in its proprietary programs. Therefore they are not covered under the terms of the GNU GPL, and TiVo retains its right to a proprietary license of the software itself.

    Examples to support my case:

    TiVo does not have to distribute the source code of its proprietary software programs under the GNU GPL. Section 3 of the GNU GPL specifically states that all works licensed under it shall have the source code available to all in machine readable format.

    Several Linux vendors including Red Hat, Inc. and SuSE GMbH do not freely distribute their proprietary, non derived software components bundled with their Linux distributions, yet they are in full compliance with the GNU GPL. They do, however, distribute everything that is GPL'ed or derived from GPL'ed work.
    Last edited by raj2001; 05-29-2003 at 05:56 PM.

  4. #19
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    Just because you don't understand it doesn't mean I've twisted it. I will no longer respond to any of your comments or jabs in this thread.

    Of course, you will interpret this to mean you are right. So you just keep thinking that, and see how far that gets you in life.

  5. #20
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    Originally posted by pweed
    Just because you don't understand it doesn't mean I've twisted it. I will no longer respond to any of your comments or jabs in this thread.

    Of course, you will interpret this to mean you are right. So you just keep thinking that, and see how far that gets you in life.
    Firstly, you are no authority to tell me how far I will get in my life. I for one did not build my successful life and career by illegally using someone else's intellectual property.

    Secondly, I will gladly take your admission of defeat.

    To further clarify, this whole issue could have been summed up as the difference between "based on", "derived from" and "aggregated with".

    TiVo's proprietary software is neither based on nor derived from any GPL components. Therefore their software is not subject to Section 2 and by extension, Section 3 of the GNU GPL. This therefore means that anyone copying TiVo's proprietary software verbatim is in violation of their copyright. This is not my interpretation. This is fact and this is the law.

    Incidentally, this does not mean that all disk upgrades are in violation of copyright. Only ones where TiVo's software is distributed without its express permission, like "ready to install replacement drives" not manufactured, programmed or authorized by TiVo, Inc.
    Last edited by raj2001; 05-29-2003 at 06:09 PM.

  6. #21
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    Wow, yet another flame-fest cool.

    IMHO, Hard Disk upgrades are legal (from a GPL perspective) provided that you don't modify the version of software that is on the TiVo. This version of TiVo software is last software distributed to the subscribers TiVo during the subscription. You, may be violating the TiVo TOS, however, this is different than software license.

  7. #22
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    cwingert,

    I personally believe that drive upgrades are okay. What I don't think is legal (strictly letter of law here) is distributing "ready to install" drives containing an entire distribution of TiVo's software.

    The TiVo service agreement thing is interesting though. They are, after all, selling you a service, and not just a computer with software. The GPL wouldn't apply to that service.

    BTW, I received my "X Factor" today. It looks very professionally manufactured. The solder joints looked like they were machine soldered (although they could have been hand soldered too). The connector to the TiVo motherboard was a high quality Amphenol connector. It's a very well manufactured product. I've just tested it on my Sony SAT-T60 and it's making the daily calls fine. Later I'm going to see if I can install tyserver so I can do some extracting

    The only drawback is that now I have to install a switch in my living room entertainment center to reduce the cable countgoing through the wall. I already have my PS2 and audiotron on my home LAN. Now my TiVo sits there and I didn't want to connect them via 802.11 wi-fi. Oh well...
    Last edited by raj2001; 05-30-2003 at 08:28 PM.

  8. #23
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    I agree with raj2001 in that the linux os is the "modified whole" that the gpl applies to, and that tivoapp & the mfs partitions / data therein is a distinct original work with it's own licencing legalities.

    seems like that should be obvious

    the line between the two is a bit blurry but what isn't these days? it's reminescent of many many moons ago when owning a macintosh was basically seen as a licence to use the mac os. (and running the latest os meant getting a new comp or horribly slow performance) I'd guess tivo doesn't seem to care because myworld is pretty useless w/o a tivo & the mods that cost them revenue wouldn't be impacted by preventing distribution of legitimate images on preconfigured drives.

    I have to wonder though what rights tivo has forfeit by not enforcing them in this instance.

    --
    Riley

  9. #24
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    Originally posted by rc3105
    I agree with raj2001 in that the linux os is the "modified whole" that the gpl applies to, and that tivoapp & the mfs partitions / data therein is a distinct original work with it's own licencing legalities.

    seems like that should be obvious

    the line between the two is a bit blurry but what isn't these days? it's reminescent of many many moons ago when owning a macintosh was basically seen as a licence to use the mac os. (and running the latest os meant getting a new comp or horribly slow performance) I'd guess tivo doesn't seem to care because myworld is pretty useless w/o a tivo & the mods that cost them revenue wouldn't be impacted by preventing distribution of legitimate images on preconfigured drives.

    I have to wonder though what rights tivo has forfeit by not enforcing them in this instance.

    --
    Riley
    But its the distribution of that modified work along with separate works that is the issue here. The GPL is specific in stating that in that case, the licensee receives the rights to distribution as specified in the GPL.

    Seems fairly obvious to me, as well as our lawyers.

    Not sure why the distribution-issue continues to get ignored...

  10. #25
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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".
    The legality of [insert activity] would actually appear to be a moot point if [insert name of jurisdiction or plaintiff] has no plans on prosecuting the "offenders." Doesn't make it right, does it?

    We are a nation of criminals. Shame on us. Or, perhaps, there are some laws on the books that should not be? An estimated 100% of daily drivers in this country violate traffic laws at least once a year, I've read. Not 50%, 75% or even 99%, but 100% (including driving too slowly, BTW, which snagged several of those last few %).

    Though most of the newer laws in question have been purchased by commercail interests able to afford the bribes, the fertile field for such nonsense has long been plowed by "blue laws" and fine-based tax collecting. Not one our more glorious traditions.

  11. #26
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    so distributing original works with gpl works automatically makes the original non-derivitave work subject to the gpl source distribution clause as well?

    that's just plain dumb

    sounds like you need to get some competent lawyers

    and people wonder why the courts are clogged...

    --
    Riley

  12. #27
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    Originally posted by rc3105
    so distributing original works with gpl works automatically makes the original non-derivitave work subject to the gpl source distribution clause as well?

    that's just plain dumb

    sounds like you need to get some competent lawyers

    and people wonder why the courts are clogged...

    --
    Riley
    grrr... never said that. and around we go again.

    Once again, here is the excerpt, VERBATIM, from the GPL:

    "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."

    The last sentence is the operative one. I really don't want to get into whether or not when they say 'the distribution of the whole must be on the terms of this License' that they mean that every aspect of the GPL applies. But as for the distribution, specifically its pretty clear.

    Additionally, if you do some reading up on the GPL, you will find that this clause was specifically put into place because the FSF did not want people to start bundling proprietary code with GPL software, and limited the distribution of it as a result.

    Again, I make no claim as to whether the separate works are actualy subject to the GPL; but from a distribution standpoint, its clear to the professionals who have reviewed it.

  13. #28
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    Originally posted by pweed
    "These requirements apply to the modified work as a whole."
    the MODIFIED WORK in this case is the underlying os.

    the "modified work as a whole" does NOT necesarily refer to the entire tivo system just because they're both on the same disk.

    edit: following your logic pre-loading & distributing microsoft office under rh/wine would make office subject to the gpl.


    --
    Riley


    Last edited by rc3105; 05-30-2003 at 09:53 PM.

  14. #29
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    Originally posted by rc3105
    the MODIFIED WORK in this case is the underlying os.

    the "modified work as a whole" does NOT necesarily refer to the entire tivo system just because they're both on the same disk.

    edit: following your logic pre-loading & distributing microsoft office under rh/wine would make office subject to the gpl.


    --
    Riley
    I agree, the modified work is the underlying OS. But the sentence goes on to discuss the distribution of seperate works along with it. And you cannot bring a proprietary piece of software under the GPL by 'merely aggregating' - so the argument would really be, "are TiVo's separate works the subject of 'mere aggregation'

    I would say 'no.' Having done quite a bit of research on what is defined by 'mere aggregation' I would say that the sections, which would qualify as separate works if distributed separately (like MS office in your example) are not defined by 'mere aggregation' - they are integrated at much lower levels, and are intricately intertwined as a system.

  15. #30
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    read this, too:

    And if you read the dialog here, which discusses the GPL and LGPL in a few different contexts, you will see that there is differentation between 'distribution rights' and 'falling under the GPL' meaning distributing ALL source code.

    http://sources.redhat.com/ml/cygwin/.../msg00560.html

    Of course, this person (Colin Peters) could be wrong.

    There is only one thing that is clear; its not as black and white as some of the idealists here seem to think. If it were, TiVo's legal counsel would have had an issue with this over two years ago when I looked him in the eye and explained the business model. The TiVo folks are not dumb, nor are their lawyers. Anyone in IP knows that if you don't vigorously defend your rights, you can lose them; they most definitely would have raised an issue if their interpretations were different.

    In any case, the philophy of the GPL is very much oriented toward retaining the freedom of distribution of software; that doesn't mean that companies can't make money licensing and supporting it, which is exactly what TiVo does.

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