Why The RIAA May Want To Side With Open Source Developers In France

from the what-is-distribution-anyway? dept

We all know that the RIAA has been pushing for a certain definition of what constitutes "distribution" online these days (which the courts are still in flux over). An anonymous reader points to a case in France that the RIAA may want to pay attention to -- where it may find itself siding with some strange bedfellows: open source developers. Apparently, some of open source developers have sued the large French ISP Free/Iliad for failing to offer up the software used in the 3 million routers that customers use, despite the fact that it includes GPLed software (which requires that any software you distribute also be available to others for free). The ISP has responded by claiming that it hasn't actually distributed the software, since the routers are still officially a part of its own network -- and therefore the software doesn't have to be offered up.

In other words, simply giving the routers to users doesn't count as distribution in his definition -- which would certainly go against the RIAA's "making available is distribution" claim). However, as the link above suggests, it could get even worse. If you follow the same definition that Free/Iliad is making, then an ISP could purchase a site license for certain applications or content and then let everyone on its "network" access it, since it wouldn't be "distributing" it. Thus, suddenly, it may be in the RIAA's best interest to side with a bunch of open source developers before the definition of "distribute" in France gets defined in a way that the RIAA wouldn't much appreciate.

Filed Under: distribution, france, gpl, open source, riaa

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  1. identicon
    From France, 10 Apr 2008 @ 10:46am

    Firmware versus Software

    I have one of these boxes, called a FreeBox, and the software is in the form of Firmware, this is downloaded and updated regularly by the ISP, but not really "downloaded" nor really "distributed" but also both of the above. The issue is a complex one and should be handled appropriately as I would love to get the source and fix it.
    The box has a disk drive and if you record a show off certain channels, you can not access them via ftp. I would love to disable this "feature". Anyone ever figured out how this box runs its ftp? I can access it with FileZila but not off the command line, I get to login and then it hangs with the password, never sends anything back.
    Anyway, other than that, an outstanding box and only 30Euro a month for high speed internet, tons of worthless TV and free phone calls. Would really hate to see anything happen to it or Free as they are really the only "sane" choice among ISPs over here.

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