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    1. 19

      Sorry, my fault for poor communication.

      I contacted BMW after reading the article that I linked, and they refused to abide by the GPL. I asked them to put that in writing, and they did:


      I really should have included that link as well as the original article. I’ve replied to my original tweet with the Gist containing the email trail, to help clarify this.

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        I have confirmed with our technical department who advised that to access the software download site the BMW Customer must provide the 7 digit VIN and accept the usage rights agreement. Part of the usage rights agreement states that the software is protected by copyright and BMW is the sole owner. So in this case it is not subject to the requirements of a “Public” licence.

        The hilarious thing about this is that they seem to think that somehow the end-user agreeing to a license somehow means that copyright doesn’t apply any more, or something?

      2. 5

        What is the nature of the violation? Looks like they are just shipping some Linux together with their own stuff on top? So they should just be offering to give the source code for Linux? Or do we have some indication that they’ve tied their stuff tightly with Linux in order to form a single work?

      3. 5

        Both BMW employees sound like support people. No one involved is a lawyer; you need to escalate.

        1. 5

          I did repeatedly ask to speak to someone in legal but was denied.

    2. 14

      An update on this: a BMW staff member has emailed me to say that BMW understands Copyleft, and that he’s looking into the matter. I’ve put him in touch the with the chap who made the initial discovery, and the Free Software Conservancy. Hopefully they’ll sort it out between them.

    3. 13

      I don’t believe the representative understood the issue, and is not a lawyer - they are a “Customer Interaction Consultant”. This seems like a storm in a teapot until there’s an actual legal case.

      1. 2

        Yup, I got the same sense. I explained repeatedly to the person with whom I was talking that it was a legal issue, and that I wanted to speak to someone in legal who dealt with intellectual property matters. Said person refused.

    4. 3

      “BMW are sending their updates unencrypted”

      Soon, “Hackers are updating BMWs with malicious updates unencrypted”.

    5. 1

      It’s quite a stretch to say you “authored” the content of this link. You made a tweet that linked out to another person’s blog post that actually contained all of the information. This is like saying that I deserve authorship just for posting a link on lobste.rs.

      1. 13

        I disagree. Per title, the “content” here is that BMW refused to comply with GPL. This informatoin indeed is provided by the tweet, and not provided by the linked blog post.

        1. 4

          I second that. I clicked through and read through the article and was confused.

          1. 5

            Yeah that’s because I didn’t originally include a link to my email history with BMW. My bad for making the original tweet quite opaque.

      2. 2

        I’d agree, should have just linked the blog post.

    6. 1

      Someone has found BMW’s specific “Open Source Site” and taken a photo on a car display of the in-app license display and address to write to for source.

      This story was indeed a lot of fuss over an uninformed tier 1 support response.