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First GPL lawsuit filed

First GPL lawsuit filed

TUX: the symbol of truth, justice, and open sourced software.

The Software Free Law Center (SFLC) announced yesterday that it has filed the first U.S. copyright infringement lawsuit against Monsoon Multimedia for violating the GNU General Public License.

Monsoon Multimedia is alleged to have violated the GPL by not offering the source code of the software to customers. The company uses the popular open source BusyBox Linux utility in its products.

One of the terms of the GPL that BusyBox is licensed under is that re-distributors of BusyBox must offer access to the source code of the program to all of the consumers that use the product. BusyBox developers made requests of Monsoon Multimedia to do so but but after many attempts were met with no response, customers approached the SFLC to step in on their behalf.

"We licensed BusyBox under the GPL to give users the freedom to access and modify its source code," said Erik Anderson, a BusyBox developer and one of the copyright holders. "If companies will not abide by the fair terms of our license, then we have no choice but to ask our attorneys to go to court and force them to do so."

The SFLC is seeking an injunction against Monsoon Multimedia until the company complies with the GPL. It's also seeking damages and litigation costs to be rewarded to the BusyBox developers.

Should we see more lawsuits to help reel in those GPL violators or is this going too far in the wrong direction? Drop us your thoughts in the forums or we'll sue!

9 Comments

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shaq 21st September 2007, 13:30 Quote
Good for the SFLC and the Busybox developers!

Is it not enough that the developers put their effort into writing the software, and then giving it away for free?

For the GPL to be effective, action does have to be taken, otherwise we might as well all use BSD, and that won't be beneficial to the open software movement...
DougEdey 21st September 2007, 13:31 Quote
Yay! I support this, they used open sourced code according to a legal license, if they don't stick to their side then they shouldn't use it.
DXR_13KE 21st September 2007, 15:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by shaq
Is it not enough that the developers put their effort into writing the software, and then giving it away for free?

you can have other sources of income.... and if your code is GPL you are forced to give away the source code, if you don't want to don't register it as GPL.
DougEdey 21st September 2007, 15:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DXR_13KE
you can have other sources of income.... and if your code is GPL you are forced to give away the source code, if you don't want to don't register it as GPL.

The point here is that the developers gave their work away for free, why should someone else profit?
DXR_13KE 21st September 2007, 15:41 Quote
yeah
Faulk_Wulf 21st September 2007, 15:54 Quote
This is good for the GPL/GNU developers. Rules and laws are worthless if no one calls "foul" when something goes off track.
I think that this is pretty ace. I think this situation is exactly what should happen so that companies know that they can't
just walk all over the "little guy". Now lets just hope they win this case and set a prescedent.
Scootiep 21st September 2007, 16:14 Quote
This is like a community putting up a public park and someone coming in and charging admission to use the swings. Go GPL/GNU and take every last dollar from these leeches!
Woodstock 21st September 2007, 22:19 Quote
tut tut tut, naughty naughty
Constructacon 22nd September 2007, 13:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DXR_13KE
you can have other sources of income.... and if your code is GPL you are forced to give away the source code, if you don't want to don't register it as GPL.
If you build on someone elses GPL product, by default yours is too and so you must follow the same terms and conditions of the GPL. Monsoon haven't done that in this case.
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