MPAA Caught Violating Copyrights? (Again?)

First of all, this isn’t the first time this has happened. Anyone remember the Linkware incident?
Anyways, recently the MPAA has released a University Toolkit (The toolkit site)and has promoted it to many universities across the U.S. so that they can spy on students to catch them doing “illegal activities”. Now besides the obvious privacy concerns here, there’s another issue at hand. This toolkit is essentially a modified version of Xubuntu. This is not lightly modified either. According to the Ubuntu Trademark Policy, once *buntu has been modified past a certain extent, you can no longer use the *buntu logo or name.

…but removing or changing any infrastructure components (e.g., shared libraries or desktop components) will result in changes too large for the resulting product to be called by a Trademark.

None of the default Xubuntu artwork has been removed. That’s not all though. There’s also another rule they break. Whatever software they are using in this toolkit, it’s definitely not in the Ubuntu repositories. And according the the Ubuntu Trademark Policy this is a no-no

If you are producing a new product which is based on Ubuntu but which has more substantial changes than those described above as a Remix, you are allowed to state (and we would encourage you to do so) that your product is “derived from Ubuntu”, “based on Ubuntu”, or “a derivative of Ubuntu” but you may not use the Trademarks to refer to your product. In some cases you may be allowed to use the Trademarks, but we’ll need to discuss that. In that event, these products will need a trademark license, and such a license can be revoked if the nature of your divergence from Ubuntu changes. Products which include very invasive changes, such as a new kernel, the inclusion of packages which are not part of the Ubuntu repositories, or anything else that significantly impacts the technical quality or user experience would fall into this category are unlikely to be approved.

Not only are they violating Canonical’s and Ubuntu’s Trademark and Logo, they may also be violating the GPL License. There is no place to get the source code for this toolkit and according to the GPL if you modify and/or distribute a work that was licensed under the GPL, it must remain under the GPL and the source code must be made available.

For example, if you distribute copies of such a program, whether gratis or for a fee, you must pass on to the recipients the same freedoms that you received. You must make sure that they, too, receive or can get the source code. And you must show them these terms so they know their rights.

You may convey a work based on the Program, or the modifications to produce it from the Program, in the form of source code under the terms of section 4, provided that you also meet all of these conditions:

  • a) The work must carry prominent notices stating that you modified it, and giving a relevant date.
  • b) The work must carry prominent notices stating that it is released under this License and any conditions added under section 7. This requirement modifies the requirement in section 4 to “keep intact all notices”.
  • c) You must license the entire work, as a whole, under this License to anyone who comes into possession of a copy. This License will therefore apply, along with any applicable section 7 additional terms, to the whole of the work, and all its parts, regardless of how they are packaged. This License gives no permission to license the work in any other way, but it does not invalidate such permission if you have separately received it.
  • d) If the work has interactive user interfaces, each must display Appropriate Legal Notices; however, if the Program has interactive interfaces that do not display Appropriate Legal Notices, your work need not make them do so.

So, why is the default Xubuntu artwork still on there? Why is it still called Xubuntu? Where is the source code?

Obviously the MPAA doesn’t practice what it preaches. So, can anyone take the MPAA seriously anymore?

http://www.ubuntu.com/aboutus/trademarkpolicy

http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/gpl.html

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