[Mageia-discuss] Hauppauge WinTV PVR-250

Michael Scherer misc at zarb.org
Wed Jun 8 03:13:08 CEST 2011

Le mardi 07 juin 2011 à 15:08 -0400, Hoyt Duff a écrit :
> On 6/7/11, Michael Scherer <misc at zarb.org> wrote:
> >
> > There is lots of firmware that cannot even be distributed. Of course, we
> > could do like Canonical and just pretend laws do not exist :
> > http://fasmz.org/~pterjan/blog/?date=20090423 , s this clearly annoy
> > users...
> >
> Here's how I understand the argument. There are three scenarios:
> 1-Software is licensed to allow distribution.
> 2-Software license specifically prohibits distribution.
> 3-Software license is undetermined.
> So this means that:
> 1-OK. Distribute if possible per the terms of the license.
> 2-Software should not be distributed. Interested parties in the
> community may work towards a license change if they desire.
> 3-It's the responsibility of the copyright holder to enforce their
> rights. Group A says that all such software should not be distributed
> until license status can be determined. Group B says to distribute
> software until copyright holder complains; no complaint equals implied
> permission to distribute. Again, interested parties in the community
> may work towards a license change if they desire.

Group A is right.
If there is no explicit rights granted, then we cannot redistribute it.

USAs consider that software are literacy work
( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_copyright ). And that's
something that do not need any specific declaration to be protected.
Something without explicit rights is protected, see

France treat software in a similar way ( ie, if there is no explicit
right to distribute a copy then you cannot, at least not in the way that
would interest us as a distribution ), and I think most countries does,
per application of the Berne convention ( revised in 1988 ) :
( see article 5, that extend protection from one country to all others

There is complex case in copyright law, but this one is quite simple.

> The rest of the universe of Linux users are unaware of such issues or
> don't care (not everyone can be RMS). They want Mageia to "just work".
> They will blame Mageia, not the hardware manufacturer, not the
> software copyright holder, not Linus Torvalds, not Richard Stallman
> nor Ubuntu/Canonical/Shuttleworth.

They can blame Mageia as much as they want, that will not change the
international copyright treaties. 

> The question is how will Mageia balance the need for "just works" with
> the desire to honor copyrights and engage only in legal software
> distribution? This is made more complex because those rights and
> copyright laws are not equal everywhere in the world.

So if the question is : 
"will mageia do something clearly illegal in France to please users", I
think that I can safely answer "no". 

But if you are not satisfied with the answer and my reasoning, feel free
to ask to the council or the board for a precision. Or ask to a lawyer.

Even Canonical did clean the firmware package, as you can see if you
follow the url given by the blog post I mentioned.

Michael Scherer

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