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 16/12/2014: Google and ODF, Civilization: Beyond Earth Comes to GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  2. Bill Gates' Pet Troll Intellectual Ventures is Collapsing as Founder Quits

    Intellectual Ventures founder leaves after an exceptionally large round of layoffs, despite [cref 77299 recent subsidies from Sony and Microsoft]



  3. Keeping Software Patents Out of Europe Following the Demise of Software Patents in the US

    Instability in the EPO seemingly prevents further expansion of patent scope, which is the subject of scrutiny of EPO staff



  4. Links 15/12/2014: OSI 2014 Annual Report, GPLv2 Court Test

    Links for the day



  5. Links 14/12/2014: Calligra 2.9 Beta, Krita 2.9 Beta

    Links for the day



  6. Software Patents Are Dying in the US, But Patent Lawyers Refuse to Admit It

    Patent lawyers continue to distort the reality of software patents' demise in the United States



  7. Links 13/12/2014: Android Wear “Lollipop”, European Commission and FOSS

    Links for the day



  8. Time to Take Microsoft Out of British Aviation Before Planes Crash Into Buildings

    London's mighty Heathrow Airport among those affected by a Microsoft-reliant air traffic control system which is not being able to properly recover from an outage, and not for the first time either



  9. News From France and Germany: Battistelli Under Fire, But Not Fired Yet, Just Firing His Opposition

    The régime headed by Benoît Battistelli and his criminal deputy continues to overthrow or pressure out everyone who is not 'loyal' to the régime



  10. Links 12/12/2014: Linux++, KDE Frameworks 5.5.0, Calligra 2.8.7

    Links for the day



  11. The USPTO is Broken: New Evidence Presented

    The scope of patents, as evidenced by some statistical figures and individual patents, shows that the USPTO is broken and must be reformed or dismantled



  12. US Patent Reform (on Trolls Only) More or Less Buried or Ineffective

    An update on efforts to reform the patent system in the United States, including the possibly imminent appointment of Michelle Lee to USPTO leadership role



  13. Software Patents in Canada Not Dead Yet

    Canada's patent status quo increasingly like that of the United States and Canadian giants like BlackBerry now pose a threat to software developers



  14. Dreaming of a Just Christmas: When a Third of EPO Walks Out to Revolt and European Judges Attack the EPO Over Abuses

    Information about the abuses of Battistelli et al. at the EPO are finally receiving wider coverage and increasing the strain on Battistelli's authoritarian reign



  15. Links 11/12/2014: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 Beta, Firefox 35 Plans

    Links for the day



  16. Ubuntu Core Announcement is Not About Microsoft and Hosting Ubuntu on Azure is Worse Than Stupid

    The power of media spin makes the idea of hosting Free software under the control of an NSA PRISM and back doors partner seem alluring



  17. France Gets Involved in Battistelli's Abuses in the EPO - Part XII (Updated)

    The EPO scandal has officially spilled over to France, where a French Senator got involved and starts asking serious questions



  18. Rolling of Heads Likely Imminent at EPO

    The European patent system is shaking as management breaks the rules, staff is protesting against the management every week, and charges of corruption resurface



  19. Links 11/12/2014: systemd 218, Empire Total War

    Links for the day



  20. Links 10/12/2014: Fedora 21, Ubuntu Core

    Links for the day



  21. Links 9/12/2014: Fedora 21 and Torture Report Are Out

    Links for the day



  22. Exclusive: The Enlarged Board of Appeal Complains About Battistelli's Corrupt Management to the Administrative Council (Updated)

    Text of the complaint from the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBoA) reaches Techrights, demonstrating just how rampant the abuse in Battistelli's EPO has become



  23. Protests Against EPO Corruption Approach 1,000 in Attendance

    EPO staff at all levels is revolting against the management of the EPO, whose dismissal seems to be only a matter of time



  24. Links 9/12/2014: Greg Kroah-Hartman Interview, Fedora 21 Imminent

    Links for the day



  25. EPO Staff Protests Today and Protested Last Week, Targeting Corruption in the Institution

    PO staff is demonstrating against abuse by the management of the EPO, today we well as in prior days



  26. Links 7/12/2014: New Linux Release, Marines and Prisoners on GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  27. EPO Scandal: Benoît Battistelli's Arrogance Recognised by European Delegations

    Battistelli’s Nixon moment and the evasive nature of his approach towards external delegations that are troubled by his behaviour



  28. CBS Brushing Aside and Away Microsoft's History of Blackmail and Bribes Against Linux

    Putting in context some of the poor reporting (or whitewash) regarding Microsoft's bribe (disguised as "partnership") to Barnes & Noble



  29. Links 7/12/2014: Typhoon Hagupit, AURORAGOLD

    Links for the day



  30. EPO Imploding: Battistelli Throws a Fit at EPO's Investigation Unit

    Patent institution of Europe is showing signs of tear as protests intensify and suppression of these protests -- as well as suppression of investigation -- intensifies as well


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