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Kiss Technology Counters MPlayer GPL Arguments 634

Posted by simoniker
from the kiss-off dept.
Snaller writes "Recently, MPlayer claimed that KISS Technology were violating the GPL by using parts of their MPlayer movie playback code in proprietary software. Now The Danish National Radio has interviewed the managing director of Kiss Technology, Peter Wilmar Christensen. He denies all claims of wrongdoing and suggests that if the pieces of code are the same, perhaps they were leaked from Kiss Technology and were then used by the Mplayer group. He also adds that the GPL is a weak license which has never been tested in court. Gabucino from the Mplayer team is furious, and accuses the director of outright lying."
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Kiss Technology Counters MPlayer GPL Arguments

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  • GPL == strong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BlurredWeasel (723480) on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:06PM (#7957157)
    The reason GPL has never been tested in court is that there haven't been any solid violations of the licence and the fact that it is so clear (the GPL that is...). The only grey area is 'derivative work' which most certainly includes blatently ripping off a chunk of code.
    • by johannesg (664142) on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:15PM (#7957255)
      Looking at the bright side, if he wants to see it tested in court so badly he may very well get his chance. In fact, if he tries hard enough he might just be able to squeeze in before SCO...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:16PM (#7957273)
      Site seems to be on the virge of slashdotting, so here's the mplayer peoples' comments.

      2004.01.10, Saturday :: Radio interview: Kiss VS MPlayer
      posted by Gabucino

      The Danish National Radio (http://dr.dk) has made an interview with me (as MPlayer representative), and Kiss Technology's managing director Peter Wilmar Christensen.

      It is going to be broadcasted tonight at 20:35, but it is also downloadable from the Internet right now:

      * streaming [real01drdk...-mplayerrm]
      * downloadable file [mplayerhq.hu]

      A written article is also available, in Danish.

      We have made a rough english translation of the session (thanks to Anders Rune Jensen). Our commentaries can be found at the bottom.

      Speaker: The development of MPlayer was started by a little group of Hungarian programmers 3 years ago.

      Speaker: We needed a program that could play media files under Linux and were so unsatisfied with the existing choices that we started making a better alternative - said Gabucino, the spokesperson for the MPlayer programmers.

      Speaker: MPlayer has reached a wide recognition in the Open Source community. Gabucino emphasizes the program's stability and ability to play many different movie formats as some of the obvious advantages.

      Speaker: The trouble with Kiss technology started recently when one of the MPlayer developers was shopping for a new DVD player and went for a product by the Danish company. For fun the programmer started looking at the software in the Danish DVD player, the so called firmware, and compared it with MPlayer's own code. There were enough similarities to take a closer look at the case and make the MPlayer team angry - Gabucino said.

      Speaker: The specific part of the code in which the similarities are found is the one controlling the subtitles when playing movies. The reality is that the code doesn't contain anything really brilliant. On the contrary, it's very simple. So Gabucino is puzzled why anyone would even bother using the code instead of writing it themselves. He suggests that it could be laziness on the programmer's side.

      Speaker: I think it's actually a very normal thing that programmers borrow Open Source code because they are too lazy to write it themselves. There have been some cases prior to this which have caused quite a lot of trouble. I think there are hundreds of examples like this that we just don't hear about - Gabucino said.

      Speaker: The MPlayer team has published the accusation of the code theft on their website and has tried to document it by listing the strings in the code which are identical in the two pieces of software. According to Gabucino, there are so many similarities that it's unthinkable that this might be a coincidence.

      Speaker: Normally this type of code is different depending on who implemented it, so, when there are so many identical strings, it's obvious that we're dealing with theft, the Hungarians believe.

      Speaker: GPL or General Public License which MPlayer is licensed under is a very widely used Open Source license, which gives the users certain rights and certain duties. Long story short, it is okay to take the code from MPlayer and develop it further, as long as the result is given back to the community. In this specific example Gabucino and the other Hungarians therefore demand that Kiss Technology should release the software used in its DVD players. And makes it clear that it is not a matter of getting some money from the Danish company, but a matter of fulfilling the requirements of the GPL and releasing the software.

      Speaker: Kiss Technology at first didn't react to the Hungarians' inquiry, but after the story began to get large publicity in the different net-medias and forums the company began to investigate the case this week. There are two main questions: whether code from MPlayer really is inside the Kiss software and how the lice
    • Re:GPL == strong (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SoSueMe (263478)
      There has been "solid violations of the licence" but the lawyers haven't been able to turn the terms of the license to their client's advantage.

      The GPL is quite clear on what is and isn't allowed.

      The copywrite holder decides to release under the GPL and anyone deriving works from that code must abide by those conditions.
    • (Obligatory Starwars reference)
      Even if it isn't strong, and it fails in court, something tells me that if you strike the GPL down, if will become more powerful than we can possibly imagine....
    • Re:GPL == strong (Score:4, Insightful)

      by D-Cypell (446534) on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:39PM (#7957485)
      Im not so sure.

      I think the main reason that the GPL has never been tested in courst is because violations are very difficult to prove.

      You can be sure that this isnt the only case of GPL code existing in commercial products, but the nature of closed source prevents us from being able to easly spot a GPL violation.

      If I come around to your house and steal your television, you have no right to break into my house to see if I have it.

      Its the SCO thing in reverse, SCO refuse to open out their code to prove the violation, KISS will obviously be reluctant to open theirs to disprove it.

      It would be nice to live in a world where the hard work of voluteer developers was respected via the license they choose to license their work under, wouldnt it?

      Unfortunatly, BSD/Apache style licenses are looking like more a viable option.

      Sure, where there is a clear violation, the offender should be dealt with in court and made to pay whatever penalty is decided, it finding the offenders that is the trick. :o(
      • Re:GPL == strong (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dossen (306388)
        Isn't that the idea of discovery: You go to court with what little you have, and then you have the judge compel the other side to produce records and such, just like IBM is doing to SCO (OK, SCO are dragging their feet).
      • by hayden (9724) on Monday January 12, 2004 @09:07PM (#7958210)
        It being hard to show that GPL code was used is only a reason up until it is found. Then companies, like KISS, that get busted start banging on about how the GPL has never been tested in court. This lasts until they get actual legal advice and then it goes something like this.

        If you lose the court case and the GPL is upheld then you have to either withdraw the product and/or release all of the source code.

        If you win the courte case and the GPL is found to be unenforcable then standard copyright takes over. In which case you've distributed copyrighted code without a valid licence and you'll get sued for damages. This outcome is the less likely of the two and would be challanged by every software company in the world (as it would probably make pretty much all software licences uneforcable).

        So if you challenge the GPL in court you have the possible outcomes of loosing or loosing worse. Not a really appealing set of options that.

      • by CoolVibe (11466) on Monday January 12, 2004 @09:39PM (#7958432) Journal
        I think the main reason that the GPL has never been tested in courst is because violations are very difficult to prove.

        Which is why you should put at least one obscure easter egg in the source, which is hard to find on casual inspection, but easy to trigger if you know how.

        Imagine the blushing faces of KISS when Gabucino triggers an easter egg in the KISS player's subtitle code. Now who stole what from who again?

        My memory is a little vague, but I do remember some incident where a case was one by a company because one of the programmers triggered an easter egg in the defendant's code, which blatantly showed that the defendant _had_ been stealing code. Can someone who has better recollection than me refresh my memory?

        • by andyr (78903) <andyr@wizzy.com> on Tuesday January 13, 2004 @03:54AM (#7960776) Homepage Journal
          My memory is a little vague, but I do remember some incident where a case was one by a company because one of the programmers triggered an easter egg in the defendant's code, which blatantly showed that the defendant _had_ been stealing code. Can someone who has better recollection than me refresh my memory?
          I also remember that one. Bit o' googling comes up with This article [franklin.ch] - the meat of which is (spelling left intact) :-
          Now, in fact (and I've verified this) if you type BOOT/SYS.WHO (notice that password WHO...) at a TRS-DOS 2.3 prompt, hold down the right combination of keys (2,4,6?) and press return, it'll clear the screen, go into 32 column mode, and display a copyright notice. This copyright notice is not obviously stored in the remaining blocks of BOOT/SYS - from memory the bytes are XORed with the position in the message and with the keyboard data lines before being displayed.

          The above is all fact, and I've verifyied it myself.

          Now for the rumour, which I can't veryify. Note to lawyers - I'm passing this on as I heard it, and I'm not saying if it is true or not.

          One version of TRS-DOS wasn't written by Tandy, but by a 3rd party and licensed to Tandy. Tandy got fed up with paying the license fee and came out with a new version which they claimed was entirely re-written. Said 3rd party claimed that parts of it were taken from his code.

          Said 3rd party asked for a TRS-80 Model 1 and a new TRS-DOS disk to prove his case (I don't know if it ever went to court). He went through the above routine, and it displayed _his_ copyright notice. Tandy had copyied the boot granule and hadn't realised there was an easter egg in it.

          Later versions kept the easter egg, but with a Tandy message.

          Cheers, Andy!
      • Re:GPL == strong (Score:5, Interesting)

        by stor (146442) on Monday January 12, 2004 @11:01PM (#7959084)
        > I think the main reason that the GPL has never been tested in courst is because violations are very difficult to prove.

        Dude, I see GPL violations popping up every few months on LKML and other places, usually due to someone reverse-engineering a binary or rom and finding GPL code/comments. Discovery doesn't seem too difficult.

        In most cases I've heard a bit of grumbling, followed by an "I'll contact the company and tell them that they're doing the wrong thing", then a followup.

        It seems to me that the authors of the code just want the company to do the right thing and not steal their code. They never seem keen on litigation.

        Of course this is in stark contrast to what a number of corporations (yay SCO, ya fuckwits) do.

        Cheers
        Stor
      • Re:GPL == strong (Score:5, Informative)

        by dasunt (249686) on Monday January 12, 2004 @11:45PM (#7959475)

        In the current KISS situation, the strings that are matched between the DVD firmware and mplayer are (1) in the same order and (2) include a subtitle format that mplayer was using in 2001 while the KISS firmware seems to be from 2003.

        While the former could be a coincidence, how does KISS explain the later? They suggest that code leaked from KISS into mplayer!

        You are right. mplayer has no right to break into the house of KISS and examine their ``tv''. But mplayer does have the legal right to bring their case before a judge, show the evidence that suggests that KISS has their ``tv'' and the judge can order KISS to show the ``tv''.

        I hope that mplayer can gather the legal resources to persue this case -- why not have a European GPL precident?

    • Re:GPL == strong (Score:5, Informative)

      by richardalan (4769) on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:54PM (#7957614) Homepage
      There have been violations of the GPL, but they've been dealt with quietly and have not gone to court. See Eben Moglen's Article [columbia.edu] about GPL enforcement.
    • Re:GPL == strong (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 12, 2004 @08:22PM (#7957828)
      I think Eben Moglen Professor of Law & Legal History @ Columbia Law school who works pro bono for the FSF says it best for his licence (GPL):

      -----quote
      I hear quite often that my license has not been tested in court. This puzzles me. It is, because of the structure of my license, the defendant's obligation affirmatively to plead it, if she wants to. After all, if she is distributing, it is either without license, in which case my license doesn't get tested--there's an unlicensed distribution going on and it's enjoinable--or the license is pled by the other side .... how interesting. There, if I may put it to you briefly, is the trick. That's how it was done. That's how an enormous commons came into existence throughout the world, not just with zero cost of goods and movement and sales, but with near zero cost of enforcement.

      For ten years, I did all of the GPL enforcement work around the world by myself, while teaching full time at a law school. It wasn't hard, really; the defendant in court would have had no license, or had to choose affirmatively to plead my license: they didn't choose that route. Indeed, they didn't choose to go to court; they cooperated, that was the better way. My client didn't want damages, my client wanted compliance. My client didn't want publicity, my client wanted compliance. We settled for compliance all the time. We got compliance all the time.

      ------end quote

      The URL is http://emoglen.law.columbia.edu/publications/maine -speech.html

      Done in the spirit of Free software, anonymously and with no karma whoring intentions. The licence was written by Eben Moglen but someone else brought forward the idea. GNU project founder Richard M. Stallman.
  • Interesting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by olliej_nz (701899) on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:07PM (#7957165) Homepage
    The only way we could know for sure would be to see the CVS/[insert source archive system here] logs to see whether they were developed all at once by KISS (implying they stole) or whether it built up over time...
  • Untested? Bah. (Score:5, Informative)

    by tehdely (690619) * on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:08PM (#7957173) Journal

    We have confirmed what we already knew, that when using code licensed under the GPL then we have to publish any derivative work. This means that the legal foundation is very thin and there is no place in the world that I know of where the GPL has been tested in court. So from a business perspective I would say that the license is relatively weak. This doesn't change the fundamental spirit in the Open Source community which I think - all in all - is positive. But it is clear that as a commercial company living off selling its product, can not and will not release its proprietary code. It is naturally so that one should not use GPL code in proprietary systems.


    Is it just me, or is this an attempt at blatantly copping-out by capitalizing on all the anti-GPL hysteria that has been rampant recently?

    The GPL certainly hasn't been tested in court (yet), but that doesn't mean it hasn't been tested. A large number of out-of-court settlements (some of them rather expensive) prove that corporations are willing to respect the license, and that its defenders are willing to enforce compliance.
    • Is it just me, or is this an attempt at blatantly copping-out by capitalizing on all the anti-GPL hysteria that has been rampant recently?

      The GPL certainly hasn't been tested in court (yet), but that doesn't mean it hasn't been tested. A large number of out-of-court settlements (some of them rather expensive) prove that corporations are willing to respect the license, and that its defenders are willing to enforce compliance.


      You said 100% better what i wanted to say. I reached for mod points but i had no
    • Re:Untested? Bah. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      We have confirmed what we already knew, that when using code licensed under the GPL then we have to publish any derivative work. This means that the legal foundation is very thin

      Does that make any sense whatsoever? "If you want to publish something based on our code, then you have to abide by our terms" seems completely reasonable to me.

    • Re:Untested? Bah. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Curtman (556920) on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:22PM (#7957333)
      And once again someone (KISS, not parent poster) needs to understand that if the GPL isn't valid, they have absolutely no rights to use code copyrighted by the various authors of the Mplayer code.

      Could someone who understands the language take a look at the pre-translated version of:

      We doesn't use MPlayer, we use our own player, a player like we know from Real Player, Microsoft Media Player is the application used to display movies. It is a fundamental thing for our player, because it's what we are known for, being able to play a wide range of different formats.

      And tell us weather thats actually what this guy said, or if he actually knows what any of this is about? What the hell is he saying? Is he claiming they are using Windows Media player on Linux? Or just that they have a program that functions similar to Real or WMP?
      • Re:Untested? Bah. (Score:5, Informative)

        by anno1a (575426) <[kd.nekr0b] [ta] [xaryc]> on Monday January 12, 2004 @08:03PM (#7957674) Homepage
        I'm a native dane, and heard the interview. I don't have time to listen through it to get to the point where he says it, but the translation is AFAIR correct! What he's basically saying is that, no, they did not steal the mplayer source code.

        And it isn't the translation's fault that he sounds like a complete idiot not knowing what's going on around him either. Many of his claims are just plain stupid, but that he begins to claim that perhaps mplayer has stolen from them is ludicrus! First of all mplayer came first (two years), have a cvs archive proving it and so on, but is it at all possible for the mplayer folks to have copied it without hacking Kiss' machines? Please shut this man up, I'm ashamed!
      • Re:Untested? Bah. (Score:5, Informative)

        by kasperd (592156) on Monday January 12, 2004 @08:16PM (#7957776) Homepage Journal
        The quoted translation is more or less correct. I listened very carefully to his words in the published .rm file starting at 6:41 and ending at 7:02. (Ironically I couldn't make mplayer play the file, so I used Real Player instead). Here is my translation (with help from Gyldendals Rode Ordboger):
        We don't use mplayer, we have our own player. Simply a player like we know Real Player - Microsoft Player, the application that does that video is presented. And that is of course a completely fundamental thing for our player because that is what made us known, that we are able to replay a number of formats.
        And I think what he is trying to tell us is, that they have a program similar in function to Real Player and Windows Media Player.
    • Re:Untested? Bah. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:32PM (#7957432)
      EXAMPLE [slashdot.org]
      EXAMPLE [infoworld.com]
      EXAMPLE [theregister.co.uk]
    • Pardon ? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Alan Cox (27532)
      That sounds more to me like they understand the license and don't intend to violate it. They think its bad commercial business but the market will sort out whether their proprietary player is better than open source.

      The Linux community have dealt with KISS before, and KISS are providing the linux kernel sources and busybox. People are building NFS support into their players and other fun stuff.

      Reactionary readings of stuff, especially translated stuff that has also been through the radio system and journa
      • by 0x0d0a (568518) on Monday January 12, 2004 @10:03PM (#7958623) Journal
        The Linux community have dealt with KISS before, and KISS are providing the linux kernel sources and busybox. People are building NFS support into their players and other fun stuff.

        KISS supports Vorbis and DivX. I will give them that -- these are folks that seem to tend more towards the OSS side of things.

        On the other hand, the mplayer folks have been burned before by folks ripping off their code (and subsequent attempts to cover up said infringement through obfuscation), and are probably extremely ready to blow up over this. I suspect that, in their shoes, I'd be in about the same state of mind.

        I kind of wish that someone like ESR or Perens, someone respected by the folks involved, could step in and lend a cooling touch, maybe mediate a bit. The FSF only seems to get involved when it's software that they own the copyright on. :-(
  • Bad tactic (Score:3, Insightful)

    by downix (84795) on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:08PM (#7957175) Homepage
    He just got a bunch of easily riled up geeks that love the GPL pissed off at him.

    Expect mailbombing, DDOS attacks, and outright criticism. Then expect to start hearing from legal advisors that know what they are talking about.
    • Presentation (Score:5, Interesting)

      by phorm (591458) on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:19PM (#7957305) Journal
      It's really too bad that this article wasn't out a bit sooner. It seems from on their homepage that they did a public presentation in vegas from the 8th-11th. Anyone know their next presentation date... perhaps we could come and present some poignant questions about the now-dubious legitimacy of their product (nothing quite like: "isn't it true that XXX and YYY have found evidence that your code is stolen from project ZZZ" in a public place).
    • Not likely! (Score:3, Interesting)

      Then expect to start hearing from legal advisors that know what they are talking about.

      The problem is, this part probably will not happen, and KISS knows it. The "small guy" generally does not have the resources to pursue this kind of legal action. This is why I was happy to see SCO take the GPL to task, if it becomes part of their future legal insanity, we may then get a good test case that clears the unknowns up.

    • Re:Bad tactic (Score:3, Insightful)

      by xlyz (695304)

      DON'T DON'T DON'T DDOS or mailbomb

      there is a much better action you can take: stop buying their products!!!

      this will really hurt them

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:08PM (#7957179)
    Well, never let it be said that Americans are the only people to behave in shitty corporate self-interested ways.

    Such dishonesty is painfully pathological.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:09PM (#7957183)
    So here:

    The Danish National Radio (http://dr.dk) has made an interview with me (as MPlayer representative), and Kiss Technology's managing director Peter Wilmar Christensen.

    It is going to be broadcasted tonight at 20:35, but it is also downloadable from the Internet right now:

    * streaming
    * downloadable file

    A written article is also available, in Danish.

    We have made a rough english translation of the session (thanks to Anders Rune Jensen). Our commentaries can be found at the bottom.

    Speaker: The development of MPlayer was started by a little group of Hungarian programmers 3 years ago.

    Speaker: We needed a program that could play media files under Linux and were so unsatisfied with the existing choices that we started making a better alternative - said Gabucino, the spokesperson for the MPlayer programmers.

    Speaker: MPlayer has reached a wide recognition in the Open Source community. Gabucino emphasizes the program's stability and ability to play many different movie formats as some of the obvious advantages.

    Speaker: The trouble with Kiss technology started recently when one of the MPlayer developers was shopping for a new DVD player and went for a product by the Danish company. For fun the programmer started looking at the software in the Danish DVD player, the so called firmware, and compared it with MPlayer's own code. There were enough similarities to take a closer look at the case and make the MPlayer team angry - Gabucino said.

    Speaker: The specific part of the code in which the similarities are found is the one controlling the subtitles when playing movies. The reality is that the code doesn't contain anything really brilliant. On the contrary, it's very simple. So Gabucino is puzzled why anyone would even bother using the code instead of writing it themselves. He suggests that it could be laziness on the programmer's side.

    Speaker: I think it's actually a very normal thing that programmers borrow Open Source code because they are too lazy to write it themselves. There have been some cases prior to this which have caused quite a lot of trouble. I think there are hundreds of examples like this that we just don't hear about - Gabucino said.

    Speaker: The MPlayer team has published the accusation of the code theft on their website and has tried to document it by listing the strings in the code which are identical in the two pieces of software. According to Gabucino, there are so many similarities that it's unthinkable that this might be a coincidence.

    Speaker: Normally this type of code is different depending on who implemented it, so, when there are so many identical strings, it's obvious that we're dealing with theft, the Hungarians believe.

    Speaker: GPL or General Public License which MPlayer is licensed under is a very widely used Open Source license, which gives the users certain rights and certain duties. Long story short, it is okay to take the code from MPlayer and develop it further, as long as the result is given back to the community. In this specific example Gabucino and the other Hungarians therefore demand that Kiss Technology should release the software used in its DVD players. And makes it clear that it is not a matter of getting some money from the Danish company, but a matter of fulfilling the requirements of the GPL and releasing the software.

    Speaker: Kiss Technology at first didn't react to the Hungarians' inquiry, but after the story began to get large publicity in the different net-medias and forums the company began to investigate the case this week. There are two main questions: whether code from MPlayer really is inside the Kiss software and how the licenses of Open Source software should be interpreted and applied. Apart from being accused of taking code from MPlayer, Kiss Technology has also been accused of using other Open Source software, but managing director Peter Wilmar Christensen denies all accusations with small requisitions. The DVD player from K
    • by Alan Cox (27532) on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:31PM (#7957412) Homepage
      One of the first things I'd say reading this is that his reaction looks a lot like several other vendors I dealt with whose CEO simply could not believe that either their employees or their subcontractors would steal code.

      Some of the confusion also comes from the speaker. If the translation is accurate the speaker asks

      "As he said, there are no big economical options for dragging the case to court. Instead they hope that the Open Source community will put so much pressure on Kiss Techonology that they will be forced to release all its software."

      The speaker doesn't say anything about software stolen by employees or contractors, or software in dispute, just about "all software". So the reply is that KISS won't release their player app - which the company guy clearly doesn't think contains mplayer code so he doesn't have to release.

      At that point he's already denied stealing any code, but confirmed he is having the matter checked.

      Now it may be that code was stolen and he doesn't know about it. It may be it was stolen and he systematically was involved. I find the latter hard to believe - if it had been done by someone smart and with foreplanning they would a) have an instant cover story b) done the hiding job a lot better.

      So the way I read this it says
      "We havent copied anything but we will check"
      "We wont be releasing all our code, including our proprietary stuff containing only our code"
      "We do release all the open source stuff"
      "We have fixed minor errors in the past"
      "You are picking on the wrong people"

      Put that way it's not quite the same as the mplayer view. Lets just see how the evidence pans out. If the KISS guys find someone stole code then we will see how they handle it. If the mplayer guys are right it won't be too long before the KISS folks will be apologising.

      Alan

      BTW: Larg e scale commercial copyright violation in parts of the EU (Denmark I believe included) is a violation of criminal not just civil law.
      • they already tried to cover it up after they were told about it...that kinda puts a hole or two in your theory...read the posts on mplayer site, it has info about changes after notification
      • One of the first things I'd say reading this is that his reaction looks a lot like several other vendors I dealt with whose CEO simply could not believe that either their employees or their subcontractors would steal code.

        Pretty much what I thought. He probably isn't intentionally lying, even if KISS is infringing (as seems likely). He naturally kicks into do-my-job-and-don't-admit-liability-mode.

        If the mplayer guys are right it won't be too long before the KISS folks will be apologising.

        I don't kno
    • by Confused (34234) on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:31PM (#7957419) Homepage
      > How come companies like Kiss cant'be
      > punished by Law?

      Because the GPL is a rather weak weapon to make their life miserable. They just have to fix the problem or publish the source to their customers and the case collapses. This approach may be very sensible in a civilised society but not a good tool to annoy your neighbour.
      • by Kjella (173770) on Monday January 12, 2004 @09:10PM (#7958230) Homepage
        Because the GPL is a rather weak weapon to make their life miserable. They just have to fix the problem or publish the source to their customers and the case collapses. This approach may be very sensible in a civilised society but not a good tool to annoy your neighbour.

        Bullshit. If you were a megacorp doing this, and knowing you have a watertight case, you'd have a) an injunction stopping them from distributing the code (literally freezing their business), b) you'd sue for both damages based on the profits *they've* made plus c) tort and possibly even more for d) fraud since they now represent themselves as authors of the code.

        There is nothing in the GPL, or in copyright law that say everything is fine if they begin following the licence. In fact, they can still be sued, convicted and lose the right to use any of that software (not to mention any derivative work, ouch) for any reason.

        The reason it doesn't happen is because it takes a lot of time and money to pursue it in court, money most Linux developers don't have up front, and the awarded damages are unknown. Not to mention many companies didn't know, and so the FSF usually cuts them a deal - they start following the GPL, and the FSF will leave them alone.

        But I sure wish someone would actually do it, and bitchslap some company real good with felony copyright violation. Just to show that there are teeth, even if they don't go sinking into anyone that steps too close.

        Kjella
    • by Otto (17870) on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:39PM (#7957474) Homepage Journal
      How come companies like Kiss cant'be punished by Law?

      Well, see, they can. You yourself stated that you thought up the MPSub format and that this other guy, laaz, implemented it. Well, that means that laaz has *copyright* over that implementation and possibly you have copyright over the format itself (that's a bit more iffy though).

      In any case, laaz has obviously released his changes to the mplayer codebase under the GPL. If KISS used that part of the code, but didn't release their derivative work, then they have violated the licensing agreement that gave them access to that MPSub source in the first place. And that means laaz can sue them for copyright violation.

      If the RIAA can sue people for it, then developers can too. My advice to anyone who finds this sort of attitude when they get their code stolen: call a lawyer. I know it's not nice, and I know you released the software so that anybody could use it. But if a company steals your work and won't play ball with everybody else, then sue them. You have the right. Your work has been *stolen* here. What the hell are you waiting for?

      Despite what idiots say, the GPL has never been tested in court because it's rock-fucking-solid. It cannot be defeated, not really. This is the opinion of some very, very smart people who know law in great detail. And you'll have the support of every developer on the planet if the other side tries to attack the GPL directly.

      So do it. If they won't abide by the terms of the license, no matter what you try, then sue the holy shit out of the fuckers. At least you'll be able to force them to stop using your code that way.
  • GPL@Court (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SignificantBit (677809) <carlosgaona AT gmail DOT com> on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:09PM (#7957186) Homepage Journal
    ... i'm really eager to see what is going to happen when the GPL goes to court.
    To me, it's seems that with wider commercialization of GPLed technology, it becomes more important to have solid foundation to stop once and for all corporate greed and FUD.
    • Re:GPL@Court (Score:3, Insightful)

      by 0x0d0a (568518)
      GPL@Court ... i'm really eager to see what is going to happen when the GPL goes to court.

      It appears that the revolution will come...in Hungary. :-)
  • by bfg9000 (726447) on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:09PM (#7957187) Homepage Journal
    ...the way to show support for our mplayer friends is to slashdot them into infinity!
  • by pardasaniman (585320) on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:09PM (#7957190) Journal
    GPL has been tested over and over, and enforced too. Those who don't comply are slashdotted! (And some those who do too!) We slashdotted SCO, now we slashdot KISS.. Fear our wrath!
  • by Rude Turnip (49495) <valuation&gmail,com> on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:10PM (#7957197)
    ...then you're back to standard copyright law, which means you *cannot* distribute any derived works. IMO, this is why the GPL is much stronger than a EULA. It doesn't try to restrict usage at all; and it grants you certain distribution rights if you're willing to play ball.
    • You're entirely right. There are some situations whose outcomes can be decided by whether the GPL is enforceable or not, but this is not one of them.

      ...then you're back to standard copyright law, which means you *cannot* distribute any derived works.

      Now, lets assume that KISS Technology did take code from MPlayer. The only thing that gives them the right to use that code at all is the GPL. Whether the GPL is valid or not, MPlayer has the copyright to that code. Being the copyright owners, MPlayer

  • Dates? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phorm (591458) on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:11PM (#7957202) Journal
    The arguement of "who stole whose code" shouldn't be too hard to settle. There are archives of old versions, logs of when certain sections/features were added. Compare the allegedly stolen Mplayer code with the Kiss release date, and then tell Kiss to kiss our GNU/Asses.

    As for the GPL being were and unverified in court, perhaps they'd like to be our guinea pig? Of course, without GPL they'd still be in violation of copyright and up for large monentary damages.
    • Re:Dates? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by nate1138 (325593) on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:19PM (#7957298)
      Actually, the code in question (the subtitle code) is even easier than that to verify. At issue is MPSub, the subtitle format developed internally by mplayer coders. This format was developed by them for them, and until mplayer's release had never been "in the wild". KISS's players mention the MPSub format in their subtitling code. That makes it pretty darn clear to me.
      • Re:Dates? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by arkanes (521690) <arkanes@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:47PM (#7957561) Homepage
        Using the MPSub file format does not neccesarily imply that the code used to read it is taken from the MPlayer source. I haven't read the entire MPlayer website yet, but the sscanf() patterns they match don't convince me either - parsers for the same formats would neccesarily have similiar if not identical patterns. The other strings results are more suspicious, but I would call this reason for further investigation, not the 100% proof that the MPlayer people seem to be claiming it as.

        The guy who wrote it might very have used the Mplayer code as inspiration (not suprising, if they're using the MPSub format), without direct copying. That'd explain things like the otherwise extreme coincidence of string names and order (once you've seen those you'll tend to put them in same order when you do it yourself).

  • So, if Gabucino is correct, Kiss Technology stole code from MPlayer. And if Peter Wilmar Christensen is correct, someone working for Kiss Technology leaked the information to the competition, possibly for money.

    Neither scenario paints a pretty picture of Kiss Technology. Are they a publically traded company?

  • Cebit 2003 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by -unta (712537) on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:13PM (#7957234)
    I met this guy at Cebit last year - and he certainly seemed VERY pleased with himself. He was going on about how the player used "2 million lines of code". I wonder how many of those 2 million came from the MPlayer CVS server? ]-[
  • by deminisma (703135) on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:14PM (#7957245)
    Keep It Stolen, Stupid.
  • by bennomatic (691188) on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:14PM (#7957248) Homepage
    SCO is apparently suing KISS for stealing their business model...
  • by Ghoser777 (113623) <fahrenba@ma c . c om> on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:15PM (#7957256) Homepage
    Wow, either that's a bad translation, or Peter talked himself in circles like 8 times. I guess he wanted to make it clear that they don't use MPlayer directly... as if that really mattered. Instead of answering a question with an answer, he kept saying they were looking into it and investigating. Now that's okay for a one or two line answer, but he kept saying it over and over and over again. It really sounded like he had no idea what to say but decided to say it over and over again.

    Over all, a fun read!

    Matt Fahrenbacher
  • GPL Defense Fund? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by _bug_ (112702) on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:18PM (#7957291) Journal
    Is there any such thing as a GPL defense fund? A lot of open source software is being developed by people who probably don't have the extra money to pay the legal fees needed to pursue action against GPL violators. Hence the GPL remains untested in court (although IBM may help fix that soon).

    It'd be nice if any leftovers from the US$10 million that IBM and Intel are putting up would be dumped over into a general GPL defense fund.
  • by jtilak (596402) on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:18PM (#7957294) Journal
    By saying "if parts of the code are similar maybe MPlayer stole our code" he is basically admitting that someone stole from someone.

    then he says...
    The GPL is a weak license and hasn't been tested in court. What is the point of making this comment if he feels that MPlayer stole from them? What he is really saying is "What are you going to do about it?"
    • by ScottSpeaks! (707844) on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:41PM (#7957498) Homepage Journal
      The mutually incompatible responses (accusing MPlayer of being the derivative work, whilst questioning the enforceability of the GPL) are a standard legal defence tactic. You present every possible counter-argument you can think of, and depending on what the "facts" turn out to be, you've already gone on record defending yourself against them. It's actually a wise move when you're not sure whether you can establish the facts in court or not. Credible or not (it sounds a bit like Bart Simpson's "I didn't do it, and nobody saw me do it"), it's what our legal system encourages.
  • by Earlybird (56426) <slashdot@purefic t i o n . n et> on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:21PM (#7957320) Homepage
    He denies all claims of wrongdoing and suggests that if the pieces of code are the same, perhaps they were leaked from Kiss Technology and were then used by the Mplayer group.

    This is an interesting problem that will require a solution. Can the Mplayer people prove that their code existed before it existed in Kiss' source tree? Certainly the contents of version control systems could be compared, and release repositories such as SourceForge could be used as evidence, but a more formal system is probably needed.

    I imagine a system similar to copyright registration and escrow services, where a neutral third party would receive code checkins/snapshots that would be time-stamped, "sealed" as evidence (and compared against SCO sources, natch). Then the owner would stand on more solid ground, and even unpaid open-source developers would have a chance to protect their work. Of course, such a service would have to be highly affordable, perhaps even free, SourceForge-style; in fact, this is something SourceForge ought to support and promote.

  • by devphaeton (695736) on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:23PM (#7957338)
    but I'm curious as to why the mplayer folks were using "strings" on the KISS module(s).

    Granted, if what they say is true, it *does* look like something's not right there.

    But why they were even looking to see how KISS's stuff worked is a bit curious.

    • by bruns (75399) <bruns&2mbit,com> on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:31PM (#7957411) Homepage
      But why they were even looking to see how KISS's stuff worked is a bit curious.

      Because, when you develop open source software, and suddenly some closed source company suddenly 'develops' software for their set top boxes that has very similar features to your open source software, you should check using simple tools (like strings) to see if anything matches. Its not hard to look for certain strings, and you certainly not violating any laws by doing it.

      You aren't reverse engineering the software.

      Open Source developers have every right to protect their projects.

      What, you don't think Microsoft, and every other closed source software developer does this to products which are very similar to theirs?

      How else are you supposed to discover when someone steals your work?
  • by Dark Paladin (116525) * <jhummelNO@SPAMjohnhummel.net> on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:24PM (#7957347) Homepage
    What may happen in the future....

    GPL Group: Excuse me.


    Evil Proprietary Company (EPC): Yes?

    GPL Group: That's our code.

    EPC: No, it's not.

    GPL Group: Yes, it is. Look - you didn't even remove our "GPL License" warnings inside.

    EPC: Oh, that. No, it looks like you stole our code.

    GPL Group; What? Why would you put those warnings -

    EPC: So we could prove when people steal our code! Now, leave us alone, you thieves!

    GPL Group: Wait a second -

    Scooby-Doo: Shaggy, look!

    Fred: Why, it's Darl McBride! He's been making other perfectly honest proprietary companies look bad by giving code thieves an argument they can make to the press!

    Darl McBride: And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling kids! By the way, I invented that talking dog, and his royalties are mine! Mine, I tell you!

    Velma: We knew the truth when we asked you to show us your code history through the CVS archives which clearly showed when the Open Source code was developed.

    (Everyone else looks at her.)

    Velma: What? Didn't I look hot in the movie?


    Hopefully we can stop this evil before it spreads too far. No, not Velma looking really good in the next "Scooby Doo" movie, but companies stealing GPL code, then arguing "Well, *you* must have stolen it from us", even though they can't prove it.
  • by Trinition (114758) on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:27PM (#7957366) Homepage

    Mind you that I'm referring to U.S. law which may or may not impact the MPlayer/KISS problem, but didn't a high court recently decide [techlawjournal.com] that it is not copyright infringement to copy data from a database built from a compilation of data? That is, you can't just organize a bunch of readily available data and copyright it and prevent anyone else form using the same data.

    The reason I ask is that the original Slashdot article [slashdot.org] stated that a big clue was "the KISS ROM includes the same list, in order, of subtitle formats as MPlayer (including their own format mpsub)". That sounds like it could be construed as a compiled set of data, akin to the case I cited above.

    I'm certainly not supporting KISS

    • Think of it this way. You can't put 10 poems in order, publish the book, thereby gaining ownership of the poems, and then sue someone whenever you see the poem reprinted somewhere else. That's all that decision means. This, however, is different.

      Imagine, if you will, that you're sitting in a classroom, and it's time to hand in your term papers....you then notice that the kid sitting next to you has EXACTLY the same title page and table of contents from the term paper you turned in last year...wouldn't
  • by Temporal (96070) on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:28PM (#7957381) Journal
    That's right... By some freak coincidence, KISS had developed a custom subtitle format and gave it the name "MPSub". You might think that the "MP" in that name stood for MPlayer -- you know, as if MPlayer had invented it -- but you would be wrong.

    uhh...
  • by Spoing (152917) on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:28PM (#7957383) Homepage
    A little more behind the scenes negotiations before making this an even bigger issue might have been prudent.

    Yes, Kiss stole from Mplayer. Calling them on it early and harshly, though, might have been the wrong tactic as it forces Kiss to defend an unethical position or to admit they are thieves.

    Now, it's an issue of ego and anger where it could have been a largely uninvolved and low key licence dispute.

    Case in point: Anyone remember Marion Barry, former Washington DC mayor? He was caught buying crack cocaine -- and ended up a hero to many people because he fought back from an ethically undefendable position where he had already lost everything. Barry is still involved in DC politics.

    Kiss currently can cause Mplayer and other projects trouble, and since Kiss also -- potentially -- has nothing additional to loose there is little reason for them not to be defiant and to basically say "No, you're wrong" to Mplayer.

    The only thing that will change this is if the dammage of caving in is less than the dammage of fighting this.

    Any ideas?

    • Interesting point, but Kiss is a small piss ant company and no OEM is going to touch them with this hanging over their head.

      SCO has killed it's business by doing what they are doing, but the are banking on the lawsuit or Pump and Dump stock scheme.

      Kiss do not have that option, They can Company Name their behind goodbye, that's all.

    • by Jeremiah Blatz (173527) on Monday January 12, 2004 @08:26PM (#7957864) Homepage
      Your sentiment is entirely correct - that it's better to try to settle these sorts of disputes privately before going public and making a big row.

      However, if you would have RTFA, you would have seen that:

      1. They tried to discuss it privately, and were unable to come to a satisfactory conclusion
        Kiss Technology failed to answer our inquiry for their source files (which they are obligated to provide), so this news entry is posted.
      2. KISS is apparently a serial offender in this respect, the MPlayer folks claim to have found fingerprints from MAD, mpg123, and libjpeg in the KISS firmware. This is apparently not an isolated incident, but a pattern of repeated abuse. (Note, this point is based on one-sided evidence. Although it looks bad for the KISS folks, I would give them a chance to explain themselves before damning them.)
  • Basically (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dtfinch (661405) * on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:36PM (#7957462) Journal
    They're claiming that after all this time they haven't taken the 10-20 minutes to download the mplayer source and compare it to theirs, and would like to hurl a few offensive comments towards the mplayer developers and the rest of the open source community before investigating if the claims are valid.

    Notice how he states that they're not violating the GPL, then proceeds to bash the GPL as if they were. Unless they found something incriminating and went "Of F**K, we violated the GPL," it makes no sense for them to argue that the GPL is weak.
  • GPL Not Weak (Score:5, Informative)

    by terrencefw (605681) <slashdot@jamesho[ ]n.net ['lde' in gap]> on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:40PM (#7957495) Homepage
    If the GPL was weak, it would have been demolished a long time ago, says mr. common bloody sense. The fact that it's still here is testement to it's solidity.

    Besides, if the license fails, standard copyright laws prevail. Remember, the GPL gives you additional rights over normal copyright law. If the GPL fails, you lose your rights to use the code, not gain them.

  • ...they're getting a donation from me.

    Just say the word, guys.
  • what about MS? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by prockcore (543967) on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:47PM (#7957560)
    KISS claims to be able to play some files that mplayer can't play without MS's DLLs.. so is KISS also violating MS's IP by distributing MS's DLLs?

    Maybe mplayer doesn't have the resources to smack KISS, but MS does.
    • Perhaps, though Microsoft might have licensed the IP to them. There's another IP issue, though.

      I there is code in MPlayer that, while legal, violates the agreement that the DVD Consortium forces vendors to sign into (like bypassing region codes and whatnot). KISS Technology is supposed to be a DVD system vendor, and may have signed this document. If they are, in fact, in violation of their DVD Consortium license, the DVD Consortium may revoke their license.
  • by PCM2 (4486) on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:54PM (#7957613) Homepage
    Hmm. Well, this is all starting to sound very unfortunate. I was really, seriously thinking of buying one of these KiSS DVD players. But ...

    ... and here is the important thing ...

    ...KiSS needs to know that I will not be supporting (buying) they products if they are violating the GPL. It seems to me that a large part of their market is going to be geeks like us. A DVD player that plays MPEG-4 is still rather a niche market, in the U.S. and Europe at least. If they want to corner the market that's going to be interested in these products -- us -- then they need to respect our ethics and our community.

    If we continue to buy these players while this issue remains unresolved, we are just shooting ourselves in the foot.

    On the other hand, this guy sounds like a typical suit, who doesn't really know how his product gets made and whose main job is to pump it. Somebody else posted that he was once heard bragging about the "2 million lines of code" that went into his product. That's exactly the type of dumb, meaningless puffery you can expect from somebody who really doesn't understand what he's selling at a fundamental level.

    He has said that KiSS is looking into the problem. If they discover that their firmware contains open source code in violation of its license, then KiSS should immediately issue a firmware update that removes that code, for good or ill as far as product performance goes. (I'm assuming here that they aren't going to relent on their stance that they cannot, under any circumstances, open their code.)

    If they find that they really didn't use MPlayer's code, then I guess what they need to do is show their source code to a representative of MPlayer under strict NDA, such that the MPlayer people can be convinced. Would that solve MPlayer's problem, or would they be unwilling to sign an NDA for this purpose?

    Still, this whole "we can't open the code" thing is a little silly. KiSS should at least be considering the possibility of opening their source code at this juncture. They're already beginning to face competition in the form of MPEG-4 enabled DVD players from Korea, Taiwan etc. These things are going to beat them on price, guaranteed. Meanwhile, domestic companies like Linksys have announced similar products for the U.S. market, and I can't see how Sony or Panasonic can be too far behind. Any of the established consumer electronics companies is easily going to shut these guys out of the retail channel for good, just on brand recognition alone.

    If they open their source, they open up the possibility of "hacked" variants of their player, sure. But what's to lose?

    • Nobody says they have to support a hacked version of their firmware, or even support the player at all once the end user flashes a hacked version.
    • By opening their source, they gain extra goodwill and patronage from their core market (geeks)
    • Closed source isn't going to prevent anyone from emulating their features. We're already seeing it happen. Who cares how 1337 they are when $50 Korean hardware does the same thing?
    • It's unlikely that their firmware is going to be binary compatible with another manufacturer's hardware. In other words, you couldn't download a KiSS firmware and run it on a Taiwanese player unless it was hardware compatible, and I assume the hardware design could still be protected by various intellectual property laws. So open KiSS firmware helps to sell closed KiSS hardware.
    • What the hell? Open the source, use all the MPlayer code you want, save on R&D!
    Right now, I really could not in good conscience buy a KiSS product. If they opened their source tomorrow, I'd probably be jonesing for one even twice as hard as before.
  • by oolon (43347) on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:58PM (#7957638)
    I was thinking of buying one of those things, but I guess I shall be crossing it off my shopping list.

    James
  • Who cares? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nsample (261457) <{ude.drofnats} {ta} {elpmasn}> on Monday January 12, 2004 @07:59PM (#7957649) Homepage
    I don't intend to troll, but really, *who cares*? What's the big issue here? Mindshare? Proper credit? Counting ego coup? (Don't spout some "GPL violation" BS, we all *get* that rationale... but there has to be something more to make this news.)

    So, here's my thinking: If the code in question is really as simple and trivial as claimed by the MPlayer folks, then why bother facing this Danish DVD group? Don't we expect that trivial code would be written in a nearly identical fashion independently? (I haven't seen the code, just going by what the MPlayer folks have stated about subtitling and the complexity.) And why bother? Is this a zealotry issue... trying to uphold the RMS/FSF flag for its own sake? Or is there something more?

    What we've got here is a relatively obscure company (perhaps) taking a relatively small section of admittedly trivial code for their application. If this isn't shaping up to be a legal challenge for the GPL, then it's a waste of time! No good can come of this. My momma always said to "pick your battles", and I don't see the upside of this one...

    Fighting every fight for its own sake, or even teh sake of the GPL, is plain stupid and inefficient.

    Crap. It sounds like I turned into a flamebait at the end here. *sigh* God forbid Slashdot function as something other than a mental echo-chamber once in a while. We shall see how many steps to "-1".
  • by hacker (14635) <hacker@gnu-designs.com> on Monday January 12, 2004 @08:06PM (#7957691)

    Anyone recall the MySQL vs. NuSphere case? A few reminders:

    GPL enforcement goes to court for first time in MySQL case [theregister.co.uk]
    Affidavit of Eben Moglen on Progress Software vs. MySQL AB Preliminary Injunction Hearing [gnu.org]
    FAQ on MySQL vs. NuSphere Dispute [mysql.com]

    This was over 2-3 years ago. But again, the GPL itself, will not be "tested" in court, because violations and violators are easy to find, and prove. Once you violate the GPL, everything else above and beyond that, are U.S. Copyright violations (and in some cases, Lanham Act violations).

    Most companies settle out of court, because the cost of public embarrassment would be much more damaging to them. I personally know, because I've got 4 active GPL investigations of my own going on three projects I actively contribute to (and one I am the primary maintainer of), and one company backed WAY down, once they realized the huge financial and public penalty for not complying with our license.

    No company wants to take the GPL to court, mostly because if it gets that far, the developers/FSF/community have already done their homework, and can prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, a violation. Penalties range from $30k/USD to $150k/USD per violation once the GPL itself is violated and rights to continue using it are stripped. For a site that provides "free downloads" of a product that might contain violating code, that can get quite expensive.

  • my email to kiss. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MartinG (52587) on Monday January 12, 2004 @08:21PM (#7957813) Homepage Journal
    [please dont copy this and send it to kiss yourself - it will do more harm than good.]

    Dear KiSS,

    Let me start by saying that I am a big fan of KiSS technology products (in
    particular your DivX compatible DVD players are great!) and I am also a
    big fan of open source and free software.

    However, I am rather worried by reports I have been reading about
    allegations made by the mplayer team regarding unlicensed use of their
    intellectual property by KiSS Technologies.

    Having read the English translation of a recent radio interview involving
    Peter Wilmar Christensen of KiSS I am a bit nervous.

    Firstly, I am disappointed that Mr Christensen doesn't seem to respect the
    GNU GPL License, but that is not a major concern.

    My major worry is that the allegations by the mplayer team don't seem to
    be taken seriously. There doesn't seem to be any attempt to show that
    KiSS have not mis-appropriated the code from mplayer. Of course the burden
    is not with you to prove anything, but as a professional software
    developer myself, I know how easy it should be to show your development
    history and you can clear the whole thing up in no time. (I also know as a
    professional software developer that you _can_ release your source
    sometimes, and it often pays off well as a PR exercise)

    Until now I have considered KiSS to be a trustworthy company whose
    products I have often recommended to others. Unfortunately however, until
    this matter is resolved I will no longer do so.

    I hope enough people share my view and together we can help you work with
    the open source community instead of appearing to ignore them. You
    probably already realise that a large number of your customers (at least
    all the ones I know!) are open source advocates and would take a dim view
    of any who appeared to be working against their community.

    Yours,

  • by Cytlid (95255) on Monday January 12, 2004 @08:40PM (#7957995)
    Oh, so all these proprietary commercial licenses are null and void until they've been tried in court? I can ignore any EULAs because they haven't been tried in court? Great!
  • Invalid GPL ? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rickms (535706) on Monday January 12, 2004 @08:41PM (#7958002)
    Here's one thing I don't understand,as IANAL. Say the courts struck down the GPL as invalid, why is it SCO and KISS believe that, it instantly makes the source code public domain? Having the GPL invalidated pretty much invalidates thier right to use the code at all doesn't it?
  • by polyp2000 (444682) on Monday January 12, 2004 @09:09PM (#7958225) Homepage Journal
    from the interview transcription by Peter Wilmar Christensen. (Kiss).

    "Microsoft Media Player is the application used to display movies."

    Hmmm... I never knew there was a Linux implementation of Microsoft media player.

    Having read many of the comments by Peter Wilmar Christensen it is quite clear that he has no idea what he is talking about, and obviously no idea what is going on behind the scenes as development at Kiss.

    This is really quite a shame, I was previously considering getting one of the Kiss machines. After this news I will be having second thoughts about doing it. At the end of the day they are making their money on the hardware they are selling. It really makes no difference whether the source code is open or closed for something like this (I know this is open to debate!)

    At the end of the day, regardless of license GPL or not, it is plain unfair to steal someone elses code and pass it off as your own.
  • by El (94934) on Monday January 12, 2004 @09:37PM (#7958413)
    ... that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

    Has anybody considered the possibility that KISS honestly doesn't know that it is infringing? They probably hired a lazy contractor that thought to themself "Why should I write this from scratch, when there is free code out there I can steal?" Hence, KISS may beleive they really own the code, while the contractor that did the infringing is long gone...

    I expect to see a lot more of this happening, especially as more and more software development is shipped overseas to countries that don't have a long tradition of IP protection.

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