proprietary BIOS src leagality? (was: RE: [OpenBIOS] award bios...)

Chris Maresca ckm at
Mon Aug 27 10:49:53 CEST 2001

On Mon, 27 Aug 2001, Jason Gurtz wrote:

> > I am somewhat concerned about the potiential licensing and
> > intellectual property rights problems distributing a copy
> > of the proprietary BIOS on the open-bios mailing list, or
> > even to a large segment of it's developers, would entail.
> As long as none of the proprietary code is used in Open BIOS, what
> whould be the harm?

Intellectual property encompasses not only code but also API's,
functionality and methodology.  Also, it does not matter if you have not
directly copied the code, just the fact that you have, in your possession
of a piece of unlicensed intellectual property means that you are liable
for infringement.

Also, from a manufacturers point of view (eg. someone who would use
OpenBIOS in a product), seeing this discussion would reason alone not to
use it.  Remember, when an intellectual property holder feels wronged (for
whatever reason) and goes to court, it costs money to defend and make
customers nervous.  It's just not worth the risk.

It would be extremely naive to think that Award would not kill off
OpenBIOS if it ever became a threat simply by using this thread.  Yeah, it
may still be used by a few people who know how to find it and hack it, but
if the goal is to encourage manufacturers to include it in their products,
I think that this thread has pretty much put an end to that.

The only hope of reversing this kind of damage at this point would be if
Per Jessen (sp?) withdrew his offer.  Unless, as I stated earlier, he has
the authority to do this...

chris maresca
      internet systems architect --

"linux, only up 138 days, because california has flaky power... "

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