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Thread: Legality of hard disk upgrades

  1. #31
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    Originally posted by pweed
    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.
    Then if that's the case, I want the entire verbatim source code of the TiVo from TiVo, not just the already GPL'ed code that they modified

  2. #32
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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
    Exactly.

    TiVo is selling you a computer (hardware), upon which they have installed an operating system (Linux) and an application (The TiVo software). They are three separate and distinct components. They're just sold together as one package.

  3. #33
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    so at least we agree on 2 points:

    there's a slippery slope with rh/wine/office on one end and rh/apache on the other

    there IS a line to be drawn somewhere between the two ends of the spectrum


    tivo has spoken on where they percieve the line to be by releasing source for the low level drivers to the extent that the tivo will boot & function as a computer w/o using tivoapp, you can even insert/extract video from the mfs partitions. (I've messed with this quite a bit as well as built many kernel variations from the source provided)

    so in tivo's view gpl ends & original proprietary work begins in the controlling app & drivers for the hardware that does capture/playback under the direction of tivoapp on sa's and includes the boot299.btl file on dtivos.


    you argue that tivo's proprietary work should be covered by the gpl because it's "intricatly entwined". that would clearly be false in the case of an aftermarket pvr capture card that was similiarly integrated into the os (even if the pvr sw installer produced the entanglement)


    so your view boils down to:

    tivo should be required to

    distribute tivoapp & drivers on seperate media
    move the capture/playback circuitry to a removable card
    require the end user to install them

    just to maintain their rights to the sw they developed?

    --
    Riley

  4. #34
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    Although this doesn't really prove any legal argument, the TiVo hack faq does say:

    "2.14. Where can I download a virgin backup image on the Internet?

    Nowhere! This would violate TiVo's copyrights"

  5. #35
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    Originally posted by rc3105
    so at least we agree on 2 points:

    there's a slippery slope with rh/wine/office on one end and rh/apache on the other

    there IS a line to be drawn somewhere between the two ends of the spectrum


    tivo has spoken on where they percieve the line to be by releasing source for the low level drivers to the extent that the tivo will boot & function as a computer w/o using tivoapp, you can even insert/extract video from the mfs partitions. (I've messed with this quite a bit as well as built many kernel variations from the source provided)

    so in tivo's view gpl ends & original proprietary work begins in the controlling app & drivers for the hardware that does capture/playback under the direction of tivoapp on sa's and includes the boot299.btl file on dtivos.


    you argue that tivo's proprietary work should be covered by the gpl because it's "intricatly entwined". that would clearly be false in the case of an aftermarket pvr capture card that was similiarly integrated into the os (even if the pvr sw installer produced the entanglement)


    so your view boils down to:

    tivo should be required to

    distribute tivoapp & drivers on seperate media
    move the capture/playback circuitry to a removable card
    require the end user to install them

    just to maintain their rights to the sw they developed?

    --
    Riley

    My view is that redistribution of the entire TiVo volume is permissable under the GPL.

    TiVo does not have to reveal their source, as their separate works are not released under the GPL. Because they are distributed on the same volume as GPL software, and because it is not a case of 'mere aggregation' the media is subject to the distribution terms of the GPL. Why is it not mere aggregation? Because the separate work cannot function without the modified work.

    The GPL work which they have modified, remains under the GPL; TiVo must disclose the source, which they of course, have.

    If TiVo wanted to limit ability of a licensee to redistribute their separate works, they would need to distribute them separately form the GPL works (modified or unmodified). Of course, this would serve no purpose to them for two reasons - their separate works require a license to function, anyway. And it would represent an entirely different architecture - they would have to issue software updates separately from the GPL stuff, etc. Since, in reality, the software essentially has no value to them without a valid subscription, it doesn't make economic sense for them to have worried about it.

    Had TiVo foreseen the sprouting of an industry such as the upgrade business, they may have implemented things differently. Its unlikely, as their revenue model probably would have ended up as it does today (primarily subscriptions). However, control is an issue, and there is a risk to them should we or someone else introduce a 'change' in the distribution that disrupted their revenue stream and/or relationship with their customers.

    Now, if Raj ever completes his basement project, the DVR that will run the TiVo software, without violating any of TiVo's patents, perhaps while using his illegally manufactured and obtained TurboNet clone card at the same time, it may raise some eyebrows at TiVo, and they will change their next generation architecture to be a bit more closed, and the software a bit more controlled.

    The interesting thing about the entire topic here is that the discussion is approximately 3 years too late -- that is how long we have been doing this, and I find it surprising that folks would even be thinking this was illegal at this point.

  6. #36
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    Originally posted by pweed
    My view is that redistribution of the entire TiVo volume is permissable under the GPL.

    TiVo does not have to reveal their source, as their separate works are not released under the GPL. Because they are distributed on the same volume as GPL software, and because it is not a case of 'mere aggregation' the media is subject to the distribution terms of the GPL. Why is it not mere aggregation? Because the separate work cannot function without the modified work.

    The GPL work which they have modified, remains under the GPL; TiVo must disclose the source, which they of course, have.

    If TiVo wanted to limit ability of a licensee to redistribute their separate works, they would need to distribute them separately form the GPL works (modified or unmodified). Of course, this would serve no purpose to them for two reasons - their separate works require a license to function, anyway. And it would represent an entirely different architecture - they would have to issue software updates separately from the GPL stuff, etc. Since, in reality, the software essentially has no value to them without a valid subscription, it doesn't make economic sense for them to have worried about it.


    just because their seperate work doesn't function without the gpl components DOES NOT nor should it give anyone else permission to distribute said work.

    it IS seperate work, it's copywritten & patented, folks that buy a tivo have a right to use it but not necesarily redistribute it. (the gpl components sure, but not tivo's IP.) I would argue fair use includes the right to make a personal backup but not to give your neighbor that bought hardware preloaded with 2.0 a copy of your old 1.3 backup.


    Originally posted by pweed
    Now, if Raj ever completes his basement project, the DVR that will run the TiVo software, without violating any of TiVo's patents, perhaps while using his illegally manufactured and obtained TurboNet clone card at the same time, it may raise some eyebrows at TiVo, and they will change their next generation architecture to be a bit more closed, and the software a bit more controlled.

    a completely seperate business that profits from redistributing someone else's IP without a licence is at best guilty of sleazy business practices. in this instance it's pretty obvious that it's also criminal.

    you complain about someone using hardware built from a copy of a design that's passed into the public domain, but insist it's proper to profit from redistributing IP you have NO rights to...

    you can't have your cake & eat it too. either you can't see the inconsistancy in your own arguement or you conveniently ignore it & hope no one else will see it. I wouldn't want any business dealings with anyone with that type of two-faced attitude and I suspect anyone that didn't sleep through ethics 101 would agree.

    --
    Riley

  7. #37
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    Well it appears to be very black and white to you too. However, GPL is clearly does indicate that distribution rights are passed along to the licensee.

    This is counter-intuitive when compared to traditional copyright practices, as is the entire copyleft movement and much of GPL, however, this is what acceptance of the GPL means - you can't limit the distribution GPL work by blending it with a propietary one.

    Its really quite sad to see so many arguments based upon sentiment, and not analysis or experience. Truly, the only argument against redistribution is in the realm of 'mere aggregation' and whether TiVo's architecture fits that example. Continuing to ignore the fundamental basis of the GPL and its wording and passing judgement based upon your own personal values really doesn't have any bearing here. Its unfortunately that many do not understand what it really means - with so many comparisons to copyright example its clear folks don't.

    Interestingly, this is why many corporations do not play with the GPL; its too permissive for those who wish to retain control.

    And to call my actions unethical is just ridiculous. Especially when we've enjoyed a positive relationship with TiVo since our inception.

  8. #38
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    The biggest clue that pweed knows nothing about the GNU GPL is the fact that he doesn't acknowledge source code must be distributed freely if object code is subject to the GPL. You can argue this all you like, but this is the entire philosophy upon which the GNU GPL and the FSF were created.

    Free software isn't about free beer or free for all. It's about free speech.

    You said:

    TiVo does not have to reveal their source, as their separate works are not released under the GPL.
    Which part of section 3 of the GNU GPL don't you understand?

    Here it clearly says that:

    "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.)
    "

    Subsection (c) does not apply because TiVo is clearly a commercial distribution.
    Last edited by raj2001; 05-31-2003 at 01:47 PM.

  9. #39
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    Originally posted by rc3105
    a completely seperate business that profits from redistributing someone else's IP without a licence is at best guilty of sleazy business practices. in this instance it's pretty obvious that it's also criminal.

    you complain about someone using hardware built from a copy of a design that's passed into the public domain, but insist it's proper to profit from redistributing IP you have NO rights to...

    you can't have your cake & eat it too. either you can't see the inconsistancy in your own arguement or you conveniently ignore it & hope no one else will see it. I wouldn't want any business dealings with anyone with that type of two-faced attitude and I suspect anyone that didn't sleep through ethics 101 would agree.
    I could not have said it better myself.

  10. #40
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    Originally posted by pweed
    Now, if Raj ever completes his basement project, the DVR that will run the TiVo software, without violating any of TiVo's patents, perhaps while using his illegally manufactured and obtained TurboNet clone card at the same time, it may raise some eyebrows at TiVo, and they will change their next generation architecture to be a bit more closed, and the software a bit more controlled.
    Firstly, my X Factor DVR ethernet card is by no means illegal. You can argue this all you like, but the fact remains that there was never any patent filed for it, and a device or invention cannot be protected under US Copyright law. So whoever invented the DVR ethernet card that jafa decides to call Turbonet, and pvrextreme decides to call X Factor is SOL.

    Secondly, TiVo has already made their Series2 architecture to be a bit more closed. I thought you already knew that. Series 2 TiVo's have the new flash rom that basically hinders hacking, at least more so than on a Series 1. Echostar has taken a similar approach, and their new DISH PVR 721 (which also uses the Linux kernel) has a hard drive that is tied to the serial number. Therefore hard drive upgrades are difficult, next to impossible without heavy hacking.

  11. #41
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    Originally posted by pweed
    And to call my actions unethical is just ridiculous. Especially when we've enjoyed a positive relationship with TiVo since our inception.
    so go get a limited distribution licence. don't try to justify your actions by saying "well they haven't said anything so it must be ok" or "they must (whatever)... to maintain their rights"

    if tivo's serperate work WAS subject to the gpl they would need to provide source. since it's not, IT'S NOT, so the gpl has no bearing on those components. the gpl does not give you any distribution rights

    "because it's tightly intertwined" does not give you any distribution rights

    "because it doesn't do anything without the gpl components" does not give you any distribution rights

    "but they like us!" does not give you any distribution rights


    they spent some $ developing it all & you're directly benifiting from their investment without explicit permission. that's it in a nutshell.

    --
    Riley

  12. #42
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    Originally posted by rc3105
    so go get a limited distribution licence. don't try to justify your actions by saying "well they haven't said anything so it must be ok" or "they must (whatever)... to maintain their rights"

    if tivo's serperate work WAS subject to the gpl they would need to provide source. since it's not, IT'S NOT, so the gpl has no bearing on those components. the gpl does not give you any distribution rights



    "because it's tightly intertwined" does not give you any distribution rights

    "because it doesn't do anything without the gpl components" does not give you any distribution rights

    "but they like us!" does not give you any distribution rights


    they spent some $ developing it all & you're directly benifiting from their investment without explicit permission. that's it in a nutshell.

    --
    Riley

    We have the right to distribute it because they've distributed their works on the same medium as GPL software. That is the only reason we have the right. And I've clearly stated it in practically every communication I've made here.

    Just because you don't like the fact that we are doing it, and have been doing it, doesn't make you right about this.

    In short, except for cwingert, none of you really know what you are talking about.

  13. #43
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    you allready conceeded that preloaded rh/wine/office would not make office subject to the gpl or provide any distribution rights.

    so now the only excuse you have left is "we know better"

    guess it was inevitible


    --
    Riley


    *never argue with an *****, they drag you down to their level & bludgeon you with experience

  14. #44
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    Originally posted by rc3105
    you allready conceeded that preloaded rh/wine/office would not make office subject to the gpl or provide any distribution rights.

    so now the only excuse you have left is "we know better"

    guess it was inevitible


    --
    Riley


    *never argue with an *****, they drag you down to their level & bludgeon you with experience

    That would fit into the category of "mere aggregation" if that is what you are trying to say.

  15. #45
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    Originally posted by pweed
    That would fit into the category of "mere aggregation" if that is what you are trying to say.
    So what makes the TiVo software different in this regard then?

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