Lawsuit asserts violation of GPL

The Software Freedom Law Center will file its first lawsuit alleging violation of the GPL (General Public License). The suit is against Monsoon Multimedia on behalf of the open-source BusyBox project.

The Software Freedom Law Center will file its first lawsuit alleging violation of the GPL (General Public License). The suit is against Monsoon Multimedia on behalf of the open-source BusyBox project. BusyBox is accusing Monsoon of failing to fulfill the license's copyleft obligations by including BusyBox in the firmware for a video streaming device distributed under a proprietary license, says Ars Technica. Under the GPL, derivatives must be distributed under the same license. Distributors who provide GPL software in binary form must also make the source code available to the public. BusyBox, which collects Linux command-line utilities in a single executable, is used extensively in mobile and embedded Linux products. Complying companies that use BusyBox in compliance with the license include HP, IBM, and Nokia.

"We licensed BusyBox under the GPL to give users the freedom to access and modify its source code," said BusyBox developer Erik Andersen in a statement. "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 to force them to do so."

BusyBox is claiming copyright infringement and seeking damages and injunctive relief. "

[U]nder the License, any party that redistributes BusyBox in a manner that does not comply with the terms of the License immediately and automatically loses all rights granted under it," the complaint says. "As such, any rights Defendant may have had under the License to redistribute BusyBox were automatically terminated the instant that Defendant made non-compliant distribution of the Infringing Products or Firmware. Since that time, Defendant has had no right to distribute BusyBox, or a modified version of BusyBox, under any circumstances or conditions."

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