article on GPLv3, Linux kernel, and Devices Rigged to Malfunction

simo simo.sorce at
Tue Oct 24 14:39:46 UTC 2006

On Tue, 2006-10-24 at 13:44 +0100, Alex Hudson wrote:
> On Tue, 2006-10-24 at 08:29 -0400, simo wrote:
> > On Tue, 2006-10-24 at 13:14 +0100, Alex Hudson wrote:
> > > The opens up a new, legally sound, route out of violation: people like
> > > Eben Moglen can go to violators and say, "If you come into compliance,
> > > you know that within two months your legal liability in this area is
> > > gone - the slate is wiped clean". The FSF, nor anyone else, can go back
> > > on an agreement they make and attempt to sue a violator outside that
> > > time.
> > 
> > This is wrong.
> > You are clean after 2 months if no copyright holder complains with you.
> AFAICS, you're just restating the inverse of what I said - you can't sue
> anyone outside the 2 month window.

No, notifying is not going to tribunal and sue, they are two very
different steps. The GPL says you get an automatic pardon if you are not
notified. If you are notified, within the 2 months time frame, then you
can get sued whenever the author wishes unless you get a written
agreement and reinstatement of you rights under the License.

> But whatever. I didn't mean to infer that you couldn't be sued within
> that two month window, however you read it, just that you cannot be sued
> outside it.

While to you it may seem the same thing, it is not and by much.

> > This is not a problem of designing secret systems, all these systems are
> > pretty well known, what is unknown is the key to sign the hash of the
> > data. And the point is moot anyway, releasing keys in this case is
> > exactly like release the source code. You can expect the same level of
> > infringement imo.
> Possibly, but you're missing the point. It's only like releasing source
> code in so far as the GPLv3 defines source code to include authorisation
> keys.
> Very few free software authors and distributors who will be roughly
> compliant from day one will design in authorisation codes. It seems to
> me that they will be used almost exclusively by those who are also
> likely to violate the GPL by not distributing source code.

Remember you are not required to release the keys if you really don't
want to, you can also just stop distribution, and that's a good enough
remedy under the GPL.


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