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Re: GPL: Does a conveyor's violation result in rights to users?

From: Elvey
Subject: Re: GPL: Does a conveyor's violation result in rights to users?
Date: 27 Mar 2007 14:18:36 -0700
User-agent: G2/1.0

On Mar 27, 2:46 am, Ciaran O'Riordan <> wrote:
> "Elvey" <> writes:
> > E.g. Assume a user receives a binary-only copy of the firmware bundled
> > with a hardware device based on a GPL'd OS (no source or offer of
> > source is provided).
> This is a copyright violation.

Yes; this is the root problem.  The vendor in this case is Adaptec and
the firmware is the Linux-based OS for a Guardian SNAP 4400.

> > Does the GPL give the user the right [...] to provide or obtain
> > newer versions of the GPL'd firmware that the vendor sells (e.g. to or
> > from another client)?
> You're asking: If someone has a binary and no source, can they redistribute
> the binary?  The answer is no.

Yes, that's the question and the answer to my main question.  Thanks,

> > Anyone aware of discussion as to whether the GPLv3 should (or could)
> > make a user entitled to do this?
> GPLv3 should clearly not entitle users to distribute binaries when they
> cannot distribute the source.
> If a binary is available but no source, then that is a problem and the
> solution is to tell the distributor of the binary that they have to either
> cease distribution (and maybe pay damages) or start providing source code
> (and maybe also pay damages, or at least legal fees).

I told the distributor this, and their answer was a (politely worded)
'Fuck you, get lost!'  What I would like to do is solicit a copy of
the OS from a third party.  But it seems I can't do that legally.   I
could inform, e.g., but I see there's already a
"Snap Server Violations" post on their mailing list:

Thanks to everyone else too; that third party beneficiary wikipedia
entry was interesting; since it's primarily common law, I can see it
being judged to apply to a license as well as a contract, but IANAL.
Actually, I could ask if there's anyone who has a copy of the OS they
no longer need that they are willing to transfer to me/my client.
a 3.x release (e.g.
are needed.  Oh, and if they come along with a copy of the analagous
download from then Adaptec would have an
even more difficult time arguing that the distribution was illegal.
(I think these downloads don't meet the GPL requirements, but Adaptec
seems to (pretend to?) think they do; see  the mailing list post I
linked to, above.  My email address is valid, but aggressively
filtered by SpamAssassin.

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