[aur-general] Fwd: Stolen material

Ondřej Kučera ondrej.kucera at centrum.cz
Fri Oct 31 15:14:04 EDT 2008


Aaron "Hussein" Griffin wrote:
> Hey guys,
> I just got the email below and want to take this opportunity to point
> a few things out:
> Licenses are important. If a project has no license that DOES NOT mean
> you are able to redistribute it by adding a file that says "Free to
> use". Just because it is in the AUR doesn't mean we are in the clear.
> That said, I believe this email is a little silly for three reasons:
> a) Nothing there is stolen. It is a PKGBUILD. If it is illegal to
> redistribute the source, then the end user is liable (something we
> DON'T want).
> b) The original tarball no longer exists.
> c) I have seen no proof of copyright.
> Still, I do want to take this opportunity to point out that we NEED to
> be more careful here.
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Richard Northcott <richard at enfour.co.jp>
> Date: Fri, Oct 31, 2008 at 3:03 AM
> Subject: Stolen material
> To: aaron at archlinux.org, jvinet at zeroflux.org
> This is stolen copyrighted material. Please remove.
> http://aur.archlinux.org/packages/stardict-longman/
> Richard Northcott
> Enfour,Inc.
> Tokyo

I don't understand it for several reasons. Some of them might be because 
the copyright law is different in different countries. BUT - let's 
assume for the sake of argument that there exist a piece of software 
(not necessarily this one) that a user is allowed to download, compile 
and then use (or just download a binary and then use) but no one is 
allowed to redistribute the original tarball or any other tarball with 
this software. Here I don't understand your point a) - why is the end 
user liable (and who is the end user exactly - the one who uploaded the 
PKGBUILD, or the one who used it?)? As you said - a PKGBUILD is just a 
PKGBUILD - simply a guide of how to download and install the software, 
nothing more. I'm very much sure that an existence of such a guide is by 
no means illegal in my country so here "we" (or "you") WOULD be in the 
clear. I just cannot see how anyone can be liable for such a guide. But 
maybe in other countries the law is stricter (and more ridiculous? - 
though I wouldn't be surprised...).

Second, when you look here - 
http://stardict.sourceforge.net/Dictionaries_dictd-www.dict.org.php - 
you'll see the "free to use" phrase, so it's not something the packager 
in AUR made up (and the package can be downloaded, so the tarball still 
exists, unfortunately it doesn't contain any useful information about a 
license). Now the question is - what is the relationship between 
Stardict itself and this particular dictionary. If the dictionary 
belongs to the same people who run the site where it is downloadable 
from, then it's their own fault that they have misleading terms of 
usage. If it does not, then either people from Stardict have it there 
downloadable against the wishes of its owners, which means that Mr. 
Northcott needs to write to them, not to you, or it is really free to 
download and use, which means that there's nothing wrong with the PKGBUILD.

By the way, I tried to find out more about this particular dictionary, 
find its home page for example - without success, instead I found out 
that rpmfind.net has an RPM for it 
and that they claim it is GPLed (probably mistake on their side but I 
wonder whether or not Mr. Northcott contacted them too).

All of the above just my opinion though, of course.


Ondřej Kučera

More information about the aur-general mailing list