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 28/7/2016: CORD as Linux Foundation Project, Wine 1.9.15 Released

    Links for the day



  2. EPO Loses More Than 80% of Cases at the International Labour Organisation (ILO)

    The International Labour Organisation (or Organization) helps show just to what degree the European Patent Office (EPO) violates the rights of workers



  3. To Understand What Battistelli Has Turned the EPO Into Look at Turkey and China

    Battistelli and his notorious Vice-President from SIPO (Croatia) turn the European Patent Office, once the pride of Europe, into a human rights cesspool with SIPO (China) connections



  4. Patent Lawyers Move Closer to Battistelli's Rubber-stamping Office While the Appeal Boards Pushed Away as Collective Punishment Which Masks Decline in Patent Quality

    Urgently sending appeal boards away and urgently granting applicants patents without proper examination will be Battistelli's sorrow legacy at the European Patent Office



  5. Software Patents a Dying Breed, But Patent Lawyers in Denial Over it and Notorious Judge Rodney Gilstrap Ignores Alice (Supreme Court)

    A look at what law and practice are saying about software patents, contrasted or contradicted by the patent industry and trolls-friendly courts (which make business out of or together with patent aggressors)



  6. CAFC Meddling in PTAB Affairs; Unified Patents Fights a Good Fight by Invalidating Software Patents

    A look at how the AIA's Patent Trial and Appeal Board is invalidating software patents post-Alice, with or without involvement of patent courts



  7. Early Certainty That Benoît Battistelli is Dangerously Clueless and a Major Risk to the EPO

    The chaos which Team Battistelli is assured to deliver if it doesn't treat scientists like scientists, instead viewing them as a production line with rubber-stamping duties



  8. OIN Makes Claims About “Open Source Innovation”, But It Produces Nothing and Protects Virtually Nobody

    The Open Invention Network (OIN) reports growth, but in practical terms it does little or nothing to help developers of Free/Open Source software



  9. Links 27/7/2016: New CrossOver, Blackmagic for GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  10. The Death of Software Patents and Microsoft's Coup Against Yahoo! Made the Company Worthless

    A look at what happens to companies whose value is a house of software patents rather than code and a broad base of users/customers



  11. Munich Attack Mentioned by EPO But Not Ansbach

    The EPO does the usual right-wing thing (exploiting disaster/emergency for domestic crackdowns), but some bemoan the omission of the explosion at Ansbach (also in Germany)



  12. Kluwer Thinks People Are Clueless About the Unitary Patent System and Pretends It's Business as Usual

    Flogging the dead UPC horse at times of great uncertainty (enough to bring the UPC to a standstill)



  13. Almost Everything That the Government Accountability Office Says is Applicable to the EPO

    The Government Accountability Office in the United States produces reports which can serve as a timely warning sign to the European Patent Office, where patent quality is rapidly declining in order to meet 'production' goals



  14. Microsoft Says It Loves Linux, But Its Anti-Linux Patent Trolls Are Still Around and Active

    Highlighting just two of the many entities that Microsoft (and partners) use in order to induce additional costs on Free (as in freedom) software



  15. Links 26/7/2016: Microsoft Growing Desperate, Linux 4.8 Visions

    Links for the day



  16. Links 25/7/2016: Linux 4.7 Final, PostgreSQL 9.6 Beta 3

    Links for the day



  17. Leaked: Boards of Appeal Face 'Exile' or 'Extradition' in Haar After Standing up to Battistelli

    A look at some of the latest moves at the European Patent Office (EPO), following Battistelli's successful coup d’état which brought the EPO into a perpetual state of emergency that perpetuates Battistelli's totalitarian powers



  18. The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) Comes Across as Against Software Patents, Relates to the EPO as Well

    Some analysis of the input from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) with focus on the EPO and software patents



  19. In the US, Patent Trolls Engage in Patent Wars and Shakedowns, Whereas in China/Korea Large Android OEMs Sue One Another

    Highlighting some of the differences between the US patent system and other patent systems



  20. Links 24/7/2016: Elive 2.7.1 Beta, New Flatpaks and Snaps

    Links for the day



  21. Links 23/7/2016: Leo Laporte on GNU/Linux, Dolphin Emulator’s Vulkan Completion

    Links for the day



  22. Links 22/7/2016: Wine 1.9.15, KaOS 2016.07 ISO

    Links for the day



  23. Haar Mentioned as Likely Site of Appeal Boards as Their Eradication or Marginalisation Envisioned by UPC Proponent Benoît Battistelli

    Not only the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) is under severe attack and possibly in mortal danger; the increasingly understaffed Boards of Appeal too are coming under attack and may (according to rumours) be sent to Haar, a good distance away from Munich and the airport (half an hour drive), not to mention lack of facilities for visitors from overseas



  24. EPO Attaché Albert Keyack Viewed as Somewhat of a Mole, Reporting From the US Embassy in Brazil Until Shortly Before the Temer Coup

    Public responses to the role played by Albert Keyack on behalf of the United States inside the European [sic] Patent Office



  25. EPO Insiders Explain Why the EPO's Examination Quality Rapidly Declines and Will Get Even Worse Because of Willy Minnoye

    Public comments from anonymous insiders serve to highlight a growing crisis inside the European Patent Office (EPO), where experienced/senior examiners are walking away and leaving an irreplaceable bunch of seats (due to high experience demands)



  26. Patents Roundup: BlackBerry, Huawei, PTAB, GAO, Aggressive Universities With Patents, and Software Patents in Europe

    Various bits and pieces of news regarding patents and their fast-changing nature in the United States nowadays



  27. Glimpse at Patent Systems Across the World: Better Quality Control at the USPTO Post-America Invents Act (2011), Unlike the EPO Post-Battistelli (2010)

    While the EPO reportedly strives to eliminate pendency and appeal windows altogether (rubberstamping being optimal performance as per the yardstick du jour), the USPTO introduces changes that would strengthen the system and shield innovation, not protect the business model of serial litigants



  28. Blockstream Has No Patents, But Pledges Not to Sue Using Patents

    Blockstream says that it comes in peace when it comes to software patents, which triggers speculations about coming Blockchain patent wars



  29. Links 21/7/2016: Ubuntu 16.04.1 LTS, Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” Xfce Beta

    Links for the day



  30. Links 21/7/2016: An Honorary Degree for Alan Cox, Looks Back at DebConf16

    Links for the day


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