Another GPL violation? (mp3.com's beam-it)
Posted 4 Jun 2001 at 22:20 UTC by bikeNomad
mp3.com's beam-it program (available from their website at
appears to be derived from the GPL'd cdparanoia program. But the
source code is not being made available anywhere, as far as I can
tell. Should we be upset about this?
Out of curiosity, I ran strings on beamit:
$ strings $(which beamit) | grep paranoia
Cdparanoia could not find a way to read audio from this drive.
paranoia_read: Unrecoverable error, bailing.
(please email a copy of this output to
This drive will probably break cdparanoia; please send
email to firstname.lastname@example.org
output of 'cdparanoia -vQ' to email@example.com
Many other of the strings in beamit are identical to those in
Well... since cdparanoia is GPL'd, shouldn't mp3.com make the source
available? Or am I missing something?
Well, I assume not every GPL violation case should be publicized as
soon as it is detected. Maybe the author should be contacted first,
and see his/her reaction. If the author demands the violator to
correct its behavior and the violator does not comply, then the case
should be made publicly known. (Maybe the author has a private
license agreement with the alleged violator to allow the use of said
software in a non-GPL manner...)
It is clearly the case with Vidomi, where the author has publicly
For this case, what's the author's response?
Just my 2 cents.
You're right, of course, about the possibility of alternative
licensing. I sent email to the author some time ago and never heard
back from him.
Of course, that doesn't tell me anything about the situation. For all
I know, the mail got vaporized along the way. Or the author doesn't
care to do anything about it, or doesn't feel like answering me,
Given that there are cases where the authors are publicly complaining,
I guess this one is pretty minor. Sorry to have brought it up.
Ok guys, there is no violation. You can download the beam-it client
source code here.
I'm pretty sure this code is the by the hand of Mike Oliphant, author of
Grip. Let's not waste our time jumping to conslusions that just aren't
true. MP3.com has built their whole infrastructure on Open Source
software (with exception of the database I believe) and even has several
Open Source projects from their engineers. Regardless of their other
practices, on the license front, they are acting responsibly as far as I
can tell, certainly more so than many other companies.
The part that _isn't_ available in source code for is libmsp, which I
assume is dynamically linked from Beam-It. That's really no different
that binary only drivers for the Linux kernel.
The link you posted _IS_ the source code.
They don't have it gziped.
tar xvf Beam-It-1.1.tar.gz
Hope you'll be a little more thorough next time.
I do feel stupid... didn't see that earlier...
(ducking and exiting quickly) never mind...
witch hunt, posted 6 Jun 2001 at 01:50 UTC by mwimer »
When are people going stop using the gpl? I wish it had never been
created, all it does is turn free thinking people into witch hunters.
For shit sake people lets focus on freedom and stop the witch hunt.
Is that too hard for supposedly openminded people to do? Or,
must the community forever worry about being some sorta victim?
Lets put an end to this and let freedom have a chance for a change.
Re: witch hunt, posted 6 Jun 2001 at 17:27 UTC by logic »
You're assuming that said witch hunters wouldn't be frothing at the
mouth over some other issue if they didn't have the GPL to worry about.
Frankly, I think you're giving people far too much credit. ;-)
I also think you're completely missing the point that many of us
shoot for when applying the GPL to our code. For me, the GPL ensures
that everyone can benefit from
anyone's work on code I write. I don't really write
anything where mass acceptance is of dire importance to me (even if it
might be to someone else), so I'm not willing to cater to someone else's
idea of what I should permit them to do with my work.
No witch hunts, no venom directed at people who happen to get a litle
overzealous, just a simple approach. Everyone should try a little dose
of moderation once in a while.
When I worked at MP3.com most of our code was written on against either
BSD or LGPL code. The beam-it code was written by several people including Mike Oliphant and we definately looked into making sure we were not violating GPL. Actually there was a lot of talk about open sourcing as much as the work we have done if it had usefulness in the outside world and didn't contain MP3.com specific information that should be kept private.
There was a lot of hope to through it passed the IETF and potentially get heavily involved with Open Source and Open Standards, but most of this got thrown out after a while by management for whatever their reasoning was.