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Australia Open Source Linux

Telstra Violating the GPL? 197

daria42 writes "It looks like Australia's largest telco, Telstra, hasn't exactly been paying attention to its responsibilities under the GNU GPL. Australian coder Angus Gratton has been investigating the company's branded T-Hub, T-Box and T-Touch products — all based on Linux, and all without any source code or GPL license attached. Naughty. However, it's not as though Telstra is the only one to blame — the goods are manufactured by Sagem, Netgem and Huawei respectively." Telstra responded quickly to Gratton's claims, saying they would work with the vendors to straighten out the licensing situation and fix any compliance issues.
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Telstra Violating the GPL?

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  • by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @06:35AM (#34171650) Journal

    Just because they have branded it does not mean they have changed any source. I have never seen one of these things so I don't know anything about them; but they may not be obligated to distribute any source. Also you don't have to provide the source with your binaries to satisfy the gpl. You just have to make the source available in a useful format if someone wants it. Has anyone asked Telstra or any of the manufacturers for the code?

  • by WarJolt ( 990309 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @06:38AM (#34171666)

    You must tell your customers that you are using GPLed code.

  • by abhi_beckert ( 785219 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @07:22AM (#34171834)

    That is simply not true. If you commercially distribute a GPL or GPL-derived product, you must inform all users that it is GPL, and inform them how to get the source code, and all tools needed to work with/build said code.

  • by mikael_j ( 106439 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @07:52AM (#34171982)

    I know I'm replying to a troll here but what the hell...

    Theft and violating a software license are not the same thing.

    A more apt (although still flawed) analogy would be if Toyota started manufacturing cars containing stolen components (although they had not done so previously) and these were then sold on to retailers. The retailers would have no reason to suspect that the cars contained components that had been stolen and in most jurisdictions they would at worst be forced to give up the cars or at least the stolen components and be reimbursed by Toyota for their costs. Of course, as I already stated this analogy is also flawed.

  • by Stray7Xi ( 698337 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @07:57AM (#34172008)

    In your analogy of Toyota distributing cars without following terms of the license, the dealer is NOT authorized to distribute under terms of the license. It becomes a copyright violation. The GPL is very clear about this.

    The point is they don't need to agree to the license, the GPL never forces anyone into it (section 9). By not agreeing to the license, all normal copyright law restrictions apply to them. However in this case they aren't infringing copyright, they're merely abiding by first sale rule.

    In fact a case can be made that apps that include a click-through EULA of the GPL violate the GPL. Since clicking I disagree will refuse to install the app which is an additional restriction (section 10). You can't force someone into the GPL, only pursue them for copyright infringement if they disagree.

    Pursuing Telstra is stupid, they should be attacking the OEM manufacturers.

    9. You are not required to accept this License in order to receive or run a copy of the Program. Ancillary propagation of a covered work occurring solely as a consequence of using peer-to-peer transmission to receive a copy likewise does not require acceptance. However, nothing other than this License grants you permission to propagate or modify any covered work. These actions infringe copyright if you do not accept this License. Therefore, by modifying or propagating a covered work, you indicate your acceptance of this License to do so.

    10. ...
    You may not impose any further restrictions on the exercise of the rights granted or affirmed under this License. For example, you may not impose a license fee, royalty, or other charge for exercise of rights granted under this License, and you may not initiate litigation (including a cross-claim or counterclaim in a lawsuit) alleging that any patent claim is infringed by making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing the Program or any portion of it.

  • by DrgnDancer ( 137700 ) on Tuesday November 09, 2010 @09:23AM (#34172534) Homepage

    Actually to keep things even moderately on topic it should be Australia. Just sayin'.

God help those who do not help themselves. -- Wilson Mizner