03.11.21

Trolling Community Developers of GNU/Linux Via Patent Trolls — Part II: Monopolies, Patents, and Their GPL Violations

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL, Law at 8:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Respect our patents, say those who infringe copyright law

We call you a violator because that's what we are

Summary: The introductory part (first of this series, Part I) explained the problem at hand; today we look at one particular aspect of the problem, namely GPL violations and cover-up

THERE is a story with a twist or a tinge of hypocrisy, as mentioned in passing last year [1, 2]. As readers are likely aware by now (having heard about it), the EPO under Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos lobbies aggressively for European software patents, which they grant regardless of the law (and pressure judges to say "OK").

“We’d like to begin by introducing readers to the GPL violations at hand.”This story isn’t about the EPO, at least not directly. It concerns trolls (or patent trolls) that intimidate the Free software community while taking away its work and violating the licence, i.e. infringing copyright law.

We’d like to begin by introducing readers to the GPL violations at hand. We’ve been kindly contacted and supplied with proof, which is publicly available in a proprietary software platform called GitHub (i.e. visible for all to see).

“Regarding GPL violations,” a source told us about the aggressor, “it’s apparent that their implementation of Dolby Vision on AMLogic SoCs violates the GPL.”

So intimidation tactics seem to have been adopted. “Anyway,” the source asserted, “here are two files that AMLogic and Dolby provide without sources.”

  1. dovi.a is a binary object which is bundled with U-Boot (which is GPLv20 without any sources and linked at build time for AMLogic SoCs. One customer published AMLogic sources here, and you can see this violation for yourself: https://github.com/khadas/u-boot/commit/bf69339498b9f6efc811c278b80ed2c0fb168ae0
  2. dovi.ko is a kernel module which is shipped to customers that implement Dolby Vision support. This kernel module is stated to be GPL:

To reproduce:

strings dovi.ko | grep license
license=GPL
__UNIQUE_ID_license9
__UNIQUE_ID_license9

These binaries are expected to run on specific licensed AmLogic chips which supposedly have additional hardware (sounds like a crypto check) to facilitate playback.

In the next part we’ll explain some of the context, but for the time being we also focus on covering a major Microsoft/EPO scandal. This means that this particular series may be published a little more slowly. We’ll record some videos to show and explain what’s going on, probably as we go along. If some of the details seem obscure, it is for source protection purposes.

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This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2021/03/11/gpl-violations-hypocrisy/

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