On using leaked source code (was Re: Creating GSM Users Association (GSMUA))

Harald Welte laforge at gnumonks.org
Sat Jun 10 09:15:28 UTC 2017

Hi Mychaela,

[this is getting slightly off-topic, so I'm removing the
 openbsc at lists.osmocom.org list]

On Fri, Jun 09, 2017 at 06:18:37PM -0800, Mychaela Falconia wrote:
> I don't know what you mean by "calypso bb", but OsmocomBB started from
> not only leaked docs, but also leaked *source code* for TI's original
> firmware for the chipset in question.  

Correct.  As the given source code was proven on-line in the public for
more than half a year, with thousands of downloads counted by the
hosting platform, no copyright holder would still have had a valid claim
that the information contained therein would be a "trade secret".  So we
could use the information learned from there, but we can of course not
re-use any copyrightable portion of the code, as that would infringe on

> Even though OsmocomBB people have chosen (for license worship reasons)
> not to make any direct reuse of TI's original code [...]

It doesn't matter what license we chose for our code.  As soon as we
incorporate copyrightable portions of third party source code without
explicit permission of its copyright holder, we are in violation of
copyright.  That's both a civil and criminal offence in many
jurisdictions, including those where the developers at the time (mostly
EU) reside in.

So our procedure was not "for license worship reasons", but for the
simple reason that we wanted to ensure both our own personal freedom as
well as the continued freedom of the code we wrote, with no attack
surface for any copyright holder to take it down (and/or extort
"damages" or the like).

- Harald Welte <laforge at gnumonks.org>           http://laforge.gnumonks.org/
"Privacy in residential applications is a desirable marketing option."
                                                  (ETSI EN 300 175-7 Ch. A6)

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