[CentOS] Red Hat CEO: Go Ahead, Copy Our Software

Fri Aug 16 20:49:33 UTC 2013
Lamar Owen <lowen at pari.edu>

On 08/16/2013 03:12 PM, Andrew Wyatt wrote:
> RedHat's trademarks are the only reason why you can't take the RedHat ISO
> and distribute it to whomever you want.

Not exactly.  The aggregate collection, just because it contains 
GPL-licensed software, is not necessarily under the GPL as a whole, and 
the ISO itself is copyrighted.

Further, out of the 2108 packages I have installed on one of my RHEL6 
systems, 678 of them are not GPL-covered.

And then there's:

[root at www ~]# cat /etc/redhat-release
Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server release 6.4 (Santiago)
[root at www ~]# rpm -q --queryformat "%{NAME}-%{VERSION}-%{RELEASE} 
%{LICENSE}\n" redhat-logos
redhat-logos-60.0.14-1.el6   Copyright 1999-2010 Red Hat, Inc.  All 
rights reserved.
[root at www ~]#

In other words, if you distribute an ISO, and that ISO contains the 
source code or binary code of redhat-logos, that's a copyright violation 
as no one but the copyright owner, Red Hat, Inc., has the right to 
distribute it.  So you can't distribute that ISO due to both a copyright 
violation and a trademark violation.

Now, GPL does specifically cover binaries; that's the whole of section 
2.  The last paragraph of section 2 I've already quoted, and that makes 
clear that RHEL the distribution, which is an aggregation of programs, 
some covered by GPL, some not, is not all covered by GPL just because it 
includes some GPL-covered programs.

The case of redistributing an ISO containing the binary or source RPM of 
redhat-logos is clear; it's not freely redistributable.

The cases of GPL-covered binary RPM's being redistributed has not been 
tested in court to the best of my knowledge.  And I don't plan to become 
the test case.

Of course, I am not a lawyer, and I reserve the right to be wrong. But 
it's clear that Red Hat has cleared their policies, contracts, licenses, 
and agreements with their own lawyers, and those lawyers know a great 
deal more about that than any of us (with at least the one notable 
exception of Russ) does.  One of those lawyers is now the primary editor 
on groklaw.net...... I met him (Mark W.) in Asheville, and he's a nice 
guy, and he really is the expert on these things.