TiVo in unenviable role as GPL3 vs. DRM guinea pig

Summary:A little more than a week ago, in a blog entry where I wrote about how digital restrictions management (DRM) technologies (the better acronym is C.R.

A little more than a week ago, in a blog entry where I wrote about how digital restrictions management (DRM) technologies (the better acronym is C.R.A.P.) are incompatible with the new draft version of the GNU General Public License 3, I talked about how TiVo could end up in a bind as a result.  Now, given the way eWeek's Peter Galli has covered the GPL3-inspired Catch-22, it's beginning to look like TiVo may end up becoming the poster child for the fundamentally opposed ideologies. Wrote Galli yesterday in a story that cited no other commercially known victim but TiVo:

The DRM provisions are designed to go after companies like TiVo, which uses Linux but collects information on consumers' actions. While TiVo complies with GPL 2.0, it may have more difficulty complying with GPLv3's anti-DRM provisions....Asked if TiVo could avoid using GPL 3.0 when that license is released next year, [FSF General Counsel Eben] Moglen said, "Once a GPL'd work has been relicensed under GPLv3, although a party having a copy under GPLv2 could continue to distribute it under that license, any further maintenance from upstream would force the license upgrade." TiVo could avoid using GPL 3.0 even if, say, the Linux kernel were to change licenses, but only by freezing itself at the last version of the kernel that was licensed under GPL 2. "That will prove to be impracticable in almost every real commercial setting," Moglen said.

Topics: Open Source

About

David Berlind was fomerly the executive editor of ZDNet. David holds a BBA in Computer Information Systems. Prior to becoming a tech journalist in 1991, David was an IT manager.

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