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    SubjectRe: rt73usb: support for wireless in Kohjinsha subnotebook
    Date
    On Tuesday 23 October 2007 14:54:54 Dan Williams wrote:
    > On Tue, 2007-10-23 at 13:07 -0400, Daniel Hazelton wrote:
    > > On Tuesday 23 October 2007 10:05:12 Dan Williams wrote:
    > > > On Tue, 2007-10-23 at 00:00 +0200, Pavel Machek wrote:
    > > > > Hi!
    > > > >
    > > > > > > > Yes, I'm quite sure. There's MODULE_LICENCE("GPL"), IIRC.
    > > > > > >
    > > > > > > That doesn't say much, some manufacturers add that line to their
    > > > > > > driver just to prevent the module loader complaining about a
    > > > > > > non-GPL driver...
    > > > > > >
    > > > > > > There should be a copyright notice or a license file accompanied
    > > > > > > with the driver that clearly states the license of the driver.
    > > > > >
    > > > > > Lacking an explicitly stated license it can be argued that, since
    > > > > > the MODULE_LICENSE() macro is meant to define the actual license on
    > > > > > the code, this code is GPL. No, it isn't an explicit definition,
    > > > > > but lacking any other signs of the license, the implicit
    > > > > > declaration of it being GPL is (or should be) enough to deflect
    > > > > > charges of copyright infringement.
    > > > >
    > > > > Yep, I believe this driver is GPLed. They published the source and
    > > > > there's nothing to suggest otherwise, and there's explicit:
    > > > >
    > > > > #define DRIVER_AUTHOR "Jeff
    > > > > Lee<YY_Lee@issc.com.tw>" #define DRIVER_DESC
    > > > > "IS89C35 802.11bg WLAN USB Driver" MODULE_LICENSE("GPL");
    > > >
    > > > If there isn't an explicit COPYING or LICENSE file or something
    > > > distributed with the driver, and if there aren't copyright/license
    > > > headers at the top of the files in question, I have a hard time
    > > > agreeing that MODULE_LICENSE("GPL") _definitely_ means that the author
    > > > has GPL-ed the driver intentionally. Of course that's the way it's
    > > > supposed to work, but to me this doesn't pass sufficient muster to be
    > > > definitely called GPL without additional clarification.
    > > >
    > > > Dan
    > >
    > > Lacking any other indication MODULE_LICENSE is supposed to mark the
    > > license that the code is being distributed under. If companies are
    > > intentionally
    >
    > Step 1: Ask the author.

    Agreed. This should have been done before this discussion even started.

    > Step 2: if the author doesn't reply, then we can have this discussion
    >
    > MODULE_LICENSE is just a random string that could have been added by
    > anybody, not necessarily the author. Unless you can determine the
    > intent of the author explicitly, a single MODULE_LICENSE is not
    > sufficient to concretely determine the license of the code. It's only
    > in one file. There is nothing to explicitly state the overall license
    > of the whole work unless each file has a header referring to the license
    > or unless there is a license document distributed with the code as a
    > whole.
    >
    > In the absence of any other indication, MODULE_LICENSE doesn't not
    > concretely determine the license of the code. You can assume it does,
    > but that's your gun to put to your own head.

    The intent of MODULE_LICENSE is to mark the license on the code. This is
    clearly stated in several places in Documentation/ (if my memory serves).

    > > mis-using this to get around the "internal interfaces" limitations (where
    > > some interfaces are not available unless the module is GPL'd) and the
    > > warning message printed in the logs when the module is not GPL'd then
    > > they are (technically) in violation of the law. (interfaces that are GPL
    > > only are considered so internal to the kernel that using them makes your
    > > code GPL because of the inclusion of GPL'd code. And no - I am not going
    > > to get into that discussion - it's pointless)
    >
    > Just because the module may be loading illegally says _nothing_ about
    > the license of the code.

    No, but it is a mis-use of MODULE_LICENSE, which is supposed to state the
    correct license on the code.

    > > In the end, using MODULE_LICENSE for any purpose other than declaring the
    > > chosen license for the code is deceptive. So it is easily arguable that
    > > by
    >
    > "deceptive" is also not "this code code is definitely GPL". Doesn't
    > matter whether it's deceptive or not. We do not know that the code is
    > GPL.

    Deception in order to create a situation whereby you can prosecute people for
    violation of the law is illegal. Therefore not distributing the code with any
    indication as to the license other than MODULE_LICENSE and attempting to
    prosecute afterwards is illegal. QED: even if the code is not GPL'd (and such
    could be learned by contacting the author), the fact that it ships without
    any indication of the license other than MODULE_LICENSE implies that the
    license is what is stated and prosecution on the grounds that it isn't
    becomes entrapment.

    > > not including any license with the code other than the MODULE_LICENSE
    > > statement and then trying to prosecute because MODULE_LICENSE doesn't
    > > accurately state the license on the code is entrapment and illegal.
    >
    > Arguable doesn't mean that it's concrete enough to pass legal muster. I
    > am not a lawyer, but this just doesn't pass the bar.

    I know several and have asked one that is a very good friend. He agreed with
    my interpretation of the presented facts - that since the only indication of
    what the license on the code might be is MODULE_LICENSE it can be safely
    assumed that the license is what that states. Any attempt to later prosecute
    because the license is not what is stated would constitute entrapment - which
    is illegal.

    DRH

    PS: note that all legal information contained here-in is only known to be
    valid in the US.

    --
    Dialup is like pissing through a pipette. Slow and excruciatingly painful.
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