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GPL Violations By D-Link and Boxee 251

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the hard-to-be-honest dept.
An anonymous reader submitted a link to a bit of a rant on GPL issues connected to D-Link and Boxee. They spend quite a bit of time explaining "Tivoization is a dangerous attempt to curtail users' freedom: the right to modify your software will become meaningless if none of your computers let you do it. GPLv3 stops tivoization by requiring the distributor to provide you with whatever information or data is necessary to install modified software on the device."
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GPL Violations By D-Link and Boxee

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  • Dirty Tricks Indeed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 18, 2011 @10:20AM (#35855212)

    Did someone at Boxee actually edit a forum post to change the author's intent?

    Forum Post Screenshots [infinityoverzero.com]

    Is Boxee's operation really this shady?

  • Re:Yeah? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Monday April 18, 2011 @10:21AM (#35855220) Homepage

    No, they get sued if they don't bring the offending products into compliance with the GPL.

    By whom? Maybe the EFF.

    I think part of the problem is that, to the best of my knowledge, the GPL hasn't been fully tested in court, and there is no single body (and certainly not with a lot of resources) who can police this. I'm not even sure the EFF has standing to sue everybody who might do this ... unless the GPL says they're the effective copyright holders for everything GPL'd, short of an amicus curiae the EFF doesn't own the code which is alleged to have been violated.

    A lot of companies seem to more or less say "too bad" when it comes to the provisions and providing this stuff ... they're just not willing to provide you with the details you'd need, admit that they're using the GPL'd software, or provide you with the sources even if they are. So, effectively they rip it off with impunity and laugh at you.

    If there's no actual consequence for these companies, what is going to change? This is far from the first time we've heard about companies flipping the bird at the terms of the GPL.

    And, really, based on my experience with my latest D-Link router ... it might be time to consider a change anyway. My latest router has a tendency to lose connection on one of its ports, and has some issues which may or may not be the fault of Vista.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 18, 2011 @10:34AM (#35855342)

    Yea, notice step 1: Reset your box to factory default. The only GPLv3 piece of software on the box is GPG, and it was removed in a firmware update, so the case here is extremely weak.

  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Monday April 18, 2011 @10:37AM (#35855378) Homepage Journal

    Add in all the problems that the networks are throwing at Boxee and the other network devices and they have a big fight in their hands. I do find this flame post most amusing because he is screaming about a lack of openness as well as the lack of DRM filled streaming services. Odds are very high that the media companies are requiring the locks for security as well as the causing the delay of services!

    In other words just get a Roku box. Mine works great.

  • My consulting firm helps law firms and their customers come into compliance with the GPL and other Free Software licenses - both before and after they distribute the product. I can tell you they do take it seriously when they run into trouble, because there is not just the threat of a lawsuit, but the threat of having infringing products prohibited from being imported into the nations where they wish to sell them.

    What a lot of companies are having problems with is establishing a compliance program before they get that letter from the Software Freedom Conservancy (which has sued about 40 companies, no kidding). Too many of them fix the problem after it's happened.

    Tivo-ization is not one of the things the companies are in trouble for, because the software in question is under GPL2, not GPL3. The problems are from simple non-compliance with the license terms.

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