First GPL lawsuit filed

Written by Phil Cogar

September 21, 2007 // 12:34 p.m.

Tags: #copyright #general-public-license #gnu #gpl #lawsuit #open-source #sflc #software-free-law-center

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!

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