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

Fri Aug 16 21:03:37 UTC 2013
Andrew Wyatt <andrew at fuduntu.org>

On Fri, Aug 16, 2013 at 3:49 PM, Lamar Owen <lowen at pari.edu> wrote:

> 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.
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Well look at that, TIL about the redhat logos package.  Even if they
couldn't copyright the ISO itself (though I think you are probably right
that they can), since it contains a non-GPL logos package that's also
protected under trademark law it's effectively illegal to redistribute on
multiple fronts.