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Software Government The Courts News

Can I Distribute This? 33

erikharrison asks: "LormaLinux is one of several emerging desktop oriented Linux distros. It comes prepackaged with the Flash Plugin, Real Player, and Yahoo IM. Is this legal? The Flash EUL agreement does allow free redistribution, but only of the Mac and Windows version, I can't seem to find a EULA for Linux version of Real Player, and can't even find the Linux version of YIM to check for licence issues. Do these distros know something I don't? And if not, am I only going to cause grief if I go to the software OEM and ask for a redistributable licence for my own project?"
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Can I Distribute This?

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  • Let's hope they already have asked permission. We don't need something else for the boobs at SCO to use to fuel their FUD. "In addition to being composed entierely of our source code, Linux distros violate EULA's and cause baldness... in women."
  • Ask !? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by noselasd ( 594905 ) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @10:45AM (#7817026)
    Instead of asking slashdot, I suggest asking the vedors of the software
    one wants to include. Much better that way. Makes sense also..
    • by Anonymous Coward
      " I only going to cause grief if I go to the software OEM and ask for a redistributable licence for my own project?"

      Jebus! He thought of this already! He's asking for advice before he pursues this because these vendors are known litigous assholes!

      Some bonehead will probably mod you up to 5 for feeding something back to the guy he already considered. If you're going to Karma Whore, at least pretent to come up with something original. What benefit have you provided to the person asking the question? No
      • > these vendors are known litigous assholes!

        hm ok. None of these 3 companies are suing 12 years old yet AFAIK.

        Anyway, these are end-user client software those companies would most likely not mind being distributed, as long as you ask them first.
        I somehow don't see Macromedia saying "Well yeah we make that flash player for linux, but we don't want linux users having it pre-installed, that's a bit too easy."
        Same goes for the others.
  • by Cpyder ( 57655 ) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @11:26AM (#7817196) Journal
    Flash Plugin:
    Check: []

    " This is the official mirror system of Macromedia Linux packages.
    With permission from Macromedia we take their software and package
    it in Linux friendly ways (RPM, DEB, ebuild). These packages are
    made available for manual download, apt-get, urpmi, or emerge.

    Macromedia's EULA forbids repackaging and/or redistribution of
    their software so please do not mirror this repository.
    Please point your apt-get or urpmi to one of these official
    mirrors of this site, as they will be permanent."

    Apparently you can either try to ask MM for another exception, or you can make your distribution download the packages from this site. It's maintained by Warren Togami of

    Real Player

    You might want to ask the folks at, and read the licenses over there.

    Yahoo IM

    When you go to, click on Unix and check the RPM you see that the license is "proprietary". You can contact them at, maybe they can give you more info.

    As for the distributions which include it, like Lycoris, I suppose they've all gotten permission from the authors/owners of this products.

  • Why Yahoo IM? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 27, 2003 @11:44AM (#7817271)
    Maybe this is a stupid question, but why not use one of the GPL'd IM clients that works with Yahoo? It's one less headache.
    • Yahoo Messenger has additional functions besides messaging.. you can access Yahoo features like calender, email alerts, stock quotes, weather and many more... it can be quite handy if you use these features :-)
  • Simple Answer (Score:5, Informative)

    by MrResistor ( 120588 ) <> on Saturday December 27, 2003 @03:01PM (#7818016) Homepage
    If you don't have a license that specificly says you can redistrubute, you can't! "Redistribution" is basicly publishing, and so it would be covered by basic copyright law.

  • Script It? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ieshan ( 409693 ) <> on Saturday December 27, 2003 @04:39PM (#7818442) Homepage Journal
    Since all of these things are 'net based, why don't you make a script that grabs these packages and seamlessly installs them?

    The user will probably never know the difference, and the companies can't complain.

    The biggest issue will be a license clickthrough before running the script.

    • Downloading packages to each end user's computer would work for Yahoo! IM, but it would not work for Macromedia Flash Player and RealPlayer, both of which can work entirely without connecting to a network, playing media from the local file system.

    • Re:Script It? (Score:3, Informative)

      Sometimes even this violates the license agreement.

      For example, when installing the JDK on FreeBSD, you are required to manually download and retrieve several files from the sun and freebsd java (patch) sites.
      This is because sun forbids binary redistribution (even a script downloading them would be redistribution because the user in basically unaware of a lot of factors), also, it gives them an opportunity to force you to register and provide the information to hunt you down if you break the agreement.
  • Some common sense... (Score:4, Informative)

    by aulendil ( 243399 ) on Saturday December 27, 2003 @07:32PM (#7819167)
    A crash course in copyright law:
    Unless stated otherwise, you aren't allowed to copy a copyrighted work!
    2. But it says copyrighted!
    Yes, the right of making copies granted to the author.

    And now, you wouldn't blatantly copy a book giving away free copies. Why would you do otherwise with software.

    So, unless clearly stated, you can't redistribute any copyrighted work.

  • Did they have permission to distribute The Italian Job (S)VCDs?*
    * See the screencap for The Bear, their FTP program, for details.

"Now this is a totally brain damaged algorithm. Gag me with a smurfette." -- P. Buhr, Computer Science 354