Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Transcript of Eben Moglen at the 3nd international GPLv3 conference; 22nd June 2006

Tivoization (wikipedia)

If I sell you a computer containing software under GPL, let's say I make a digital video recorder, let's say I call it TiVo. And I sell it to you and I say: "there's GPL'd software in here, here is the source code. The only thing is, if you modify this software inside my box I will cut your service off". That would be a straightforward violation of GPL. You would be adding a condition to the licence and you couldn't do it.

Now why it's such a big deal, that everybody should jump up and down and yell and scream and carry on if we say: "oh! and by the way, what you are not allowed to do by illegally modifying the licence, you are not allowed to do by modifying the hardware so that the licence can be evaded safely!". It's a straightforward proposition: you can't do it this way and you can't do it that way either, why are you trying to evade the licence?

"Well we are very concerned about copyright on music and movies" - Don't give me that. That's like any other reason for evading the licence. "Well, we're very interested in making money Mr. Stallman, and if we break your licence we can make more money!" - Sorry that's not a reason.

So what we are talking about is not something about why we are mad at Hollywood or why we are mad at the music factories, that's another discussion.

We are saying that the licence should prohibit technical means of evasion of its rules, with the same clarity that it prohibits legal evasion of its rules, that's all.

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