EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

11.23.07

The GNU GPL is Already Proven and Tested in Court

Posted in America, Courtroom, Europe, FSF, GNU/Linux, GPL, Law, Microsoft at 1:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microvell

Microsoft should come clean

Several months ago, Microsoft snubbed the GPLv3 as though it does not apply to Novell and Microsoft. It insisted that it’s not bound by the GPLv3 and allowed the conversation with the FSF to just cool off. Here are some of these past developments, listed in a chronological order:

  1. GPLv3 Cluebat Hits Microsoft, Which Has Just Entered the ”Denial” Stage of Its Agony (Updated)
  2. Without GPLv3 Obligations, Microsoft and Its Linux Partners Stay Stuck in 2007 (Updated)
  3. Amid the Recent Developments, Where Does Novell Stand?
  4. Kevin Carmony Responds, Linspire on Permanent Feature Freeze for GPLv3 Software
  5. Patent Lawyer in Microsoft’s Defense on GNU GPLv3 Issues
  6. With Novell’s Deal, Microsoft is Already Bound by GPLv3

We don’t typically cover GPL stories other than ones that involve GPLv3 (for the parts of it which address Novell-like deals and patents). Making this post the exception, let’s just mention that The Software Freedom Law Center has taken action to defend the GPL.

The Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) today announced that it has filed two more copyright infringement lawsuits on behalf of its clients, two principal developers of BusyBox, alleging violation of the GNU General Public License (GPL). The defendants in the lawsuits are Xterasys Corporation and High-Gain Antennas, LLC. BusyBox is a lightweight set of standard Unix utilities commonly used in embedded systems and is open source software licensed under GPL version 2.

As you will find below, to the SFLC this is not a case of seeking legal precedence. Rather, it’s about establishing a strong relationship with its clients and defending the licence, as one should. It’s the developers’ right.

Here are the stories (reverse chronological) about the first lawsuit attempt.

There is another new and interesting situation in LWN.net.

A GPL compliance case against Iliad

[...]

Several free software writers have called Iliad, one of the main telecom companies in France, to respect their work, and a judicial proceeding has begun to demand the respect of their licence. This action follows repeated refusals of Iliad to publish the source code of the Free Software included in their Freebox. Although the writers appreciate “the innovative contributions that Iliad has made in the telecommunication industry, along its historical inclination toward Free Software”, they are concerned about the reasons that may have led Iliad to this philosophical swing.

Not so long ago, LWN.net had its eye on Yoggie because of its Linux-based USB firewall.

Skeptics Abound…

There will always be a self-serving voice which will tell you that GPL violations are impossible to detect and keep track of. Some further exploration suggests otherwise and squashes this type of GPL FUD.

“A paper to be presented at the upcoming academic conference Automated Software Engineering describes a new method to detect code theft and could be used to detect GPL violations in particular. While the co-called birthmarking method is demonstrated for Java, it is general enough to work for other languages as well…”

Let’s not forget Black Duck, either. We mentioned this company on a couple of occasions that involved Novell.

Over at the 451 Group’s blog, I found myself facing geo-centricity which assumes nothing is true until its arrival in America. It’s something along the lines of “innovation exists only once Microsoft implements (imitates) an idea and mass-markets it. Anyway, the assumption there was that the GPL requires a test case in court. This isn’t quite the case though. Here is a quick list of GPL court wins:

German district court Munich has convicted Skype of violating the GPL. One of the VoIP telephones sold by Skype run Linux, but the GPL text was not handed out together with the phone, although the GPL requires that.

Open-source programmer Harald Welte said Thursday he won a civil court case in Germany centered on the General Public License (GPL). The license governs many open-source projects and permits anyone to use software covered by it, but requires that companies incorporating GPL software make the underlying source code available.

D-Link Germany GmbH, a subsidiary of D-Link Corporation, Taiwan R.O.C., distributed DSM-G600, a network attached storage (NAS) device which uses a Linux-based Operating System. However, this distribution was incompliant with the GNU General Public License (GPL) which covers the Linux Kernel and many other software programs used in the product.

It is worth remembering that Daniel Wallace’s attempt to declare the GPL illegal failed miserably [PDF] earlier this year (appeal declined also). On the other hand, Microsoft’s notorious EULA may have no legal basis, but who would ever challange Microsoft over this in the courtroom?

There is nothing wrong with the GPL other than perceptions that were developed around it by masterminds of the proprietary software industry. Would Dostoevsky Use the GPL?

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 31/3/2015: New BlackArch Linux, Mozilla Firefox 37.0

    Links for the day



  2. Links 30/3/2015: Linux 4.0 RC6, OpenELEC 5.0.7

    Links for the day



  3. Techrights Cited by European Politicians in Support of EPO Staff's Causes

    Benoît Battistelli's right-hand man is characterised as suspected of corruption in European Parliament questions



  4. When the EPO Came Under Fire From the Netherlands and Before Systemic Corruption Was Revealed

    Questions that targeted the Dutch Minister of Justice amidst EPO abuses against staff and a shameful failure to enforce a court's decision



  5. Links 29/3/2015: Red Hat's Stock Soars, Kodi 14.2 Released

    Links for the day



  6. Speculations That Microsoft is About to Buy Cyanogen (or at Least Officially Partner) to Attack Google's Android/Linux, Replacing Everything With Microsoft

    Articles in the corporate media and some analysis from smaller media sites serve to highlight the role which Microsoft plays in Cyanogen



  7. Links 28/3/2015: FoundationDB FOSS Shut Down by Apple, European Commission Support for Free Software

    Links for the day



  8. Microsoft Keeps Pretending to be 'Open Source', Despite Relentless Assaults on Open Source

    Microsoft's charm offensives against Free/libre software are proving to be rather effective, despite them involving a gross distortion of facts and exploitation of corruptible elements in the corporate media



  9. Željko Topić and Ivan Šimonović, Two Residues of Ivo Sanader's Corrupt Regime, Seen as Indirectly Connected

    Further exploration of the remnants of Sanader's highly notorious record and those whom he had brought to power before he landed in jail



  10. Links 27/3/2015: Ubuntu 15.04 Second Beta, Dart 1.9

    Links for the day



  11. The EPO's Dutch Scandal Leaves Battistelli and His Cronies on the Run

    EPO management is making concessions and issues statements which admit defeat, allowing the staff union to continue its activities



  12. Microsoft Won't Let People Wipe (Off) Windows But Happily Wipes Android, Wipes Android Apps Through Cyanogen and Blackmailed 'Partners'

    Microsoft's obscene double-standards leave Android and Linux between a rock and a hard place



  13. Links 26/3/2015: GNOME 3.16 Officially Released

    Links for the day



  14. Links 25/3/2015: India Moving to Free Software

    Links for the day



  15. Another Reason to Boycott UEFI: Back Doors or Crackers

    UEFI makes computers more prone to infections, according to some security experts



  16. The EPO's Administrative Council is Under Increased Pressure to Rein in and to Finally Stop Benoît Battistelli

    The EPO's Administrative Council (AC) is about to have a meeting, so the Member States' delegations are urged to call for action



  17. IRC Proceedings: February 22nd - March 21st, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  18. The Latest Microsoft Attacks on GNU/Linux and Free/Libre Software

    Microsoft is still hiding behind the façade of 'love' whilst actively attacking GNU/Linux and Free software from many directions



  19. Attempts to Disrupt Android by Pushing Microsoft Software Into It (Using Patent Blackmail and Cyanogen)

    Microsoft's Android coup d'état is succeeding owing to public apathy and poor comprehension of what Microsoft really is up to, partly due to media misdirection



  20. Links 24/3/2015: WebKitGTK+ 2.8.0, Black Lab Linux 6.5

    Links for the day



  21. Concerns Over Željko Topić's Alleged Powerful Links in Croatian Diplomacy

    Rikard Frgačić explains the powerful connections acquired though Ivan Šimonović, who is himself connected to EPO Vice-President Željko Topić



  22. Benoît Battistelli's EPO Comes Under Fire From Prominent Figures Who Are Key EPO Stakeholders, Expect Battistelli to Resign 'in the Longer Term'

    The ‘reign of terror’ which is primarily attributed to Battistelli and his cronies may be about to end; the Luxembourg parliament approves the Unified Patent Court



  23. Benoît Battistelli's EPO is Under Attack From French Politicians Yet Again

    More EPO interventions -- this time from France -- target Benoît Battistelli over his abuses and take it up to Eurocrats for political actions



  24. Bribes and Extortion Help Turn Android (Linux-powered) Into 'Microsoft Android'

    A strategy involving harassment and bribes drives large Android players into Microsoft's arms (PRISM and lock-in), much to Google's (and users') detriment and beyond regulators' range of visibility



  25. Microsoft-connected Black Duck Software Created by Microsoft Marketing Man as an Anti-GPL Operation, Admits the Management

    Black Duck "was founded [on] the idea ... to keep GPL-licensed code out of corporate codebases entirely," according to a new report



  26. Links 23/3/2015: Linux 4.0 RC5, Kubuntu Celebrates Ten Years

    Links for the day



  27. Microsoft Admits Lying (or Deceiving) About the Cost of Vista 10

    After much hype in the press about Windows being 'free' it turns out that Microsoft just lied yet again, leaving that lingering perception that Windows is as inexpensive as GNU/Linux



  28. Politics of Blackmail at the EPO

    Comments serve to highlight the role of bribes (or contrariwise blackmail), as allegedly exercised by the current management of the European Patent Office



  29. Benoît Battistelli's EPO Comes Under Attack From the British

    A British MEP criticises Battistelli and the management of the European Patent Office (EPO) while Baroness Lucy Neville-Rolfe, UK Minister for Intellectual Property, gets closer to Battistelli in a tactless effort to improve relations



  30. The Royal Norwegian Department of Labour on the Right of European Patent Office (EPO) Workers to Strike

    The role of bureaucrats from Norway in defending (or not) the rights of EPO workers -- rights that the EPO's management is actively trying to deny and punish for


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts