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GNU is Not Unix Software Linux

First US GPL Lawsuit Heads For Quick Settlement 196

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the owning-up-shows-character dept.
DeviceGuru writes to tell us that the first lawsuit centered around the GPL seems to have been quickly resolved outside of the courtroom. Monsoon Multimedia was quick to admit that they had violated the GPLv2 in their modified BusyBox code and will soon be releasing the source to come into full compliance with the license.
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First US GPL Lawsuit Heads For Quick Settlement

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  • by heff66 (561254) on Monday September 24, 2007 @05:20PM (#20735717) Homepage
    You can't center "around" something. You can revolve around something or you can center ON something. But you can't center around. Doesn't even make sense and it's on two front-page Slashdot articles.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24, 2007 @05:30PM (#20735841)

    Not exactly:

    When they were confronted about the fact that they were in violation of the law, they brushed it off, "jokingly" accusing the guy who discovered it of reverse-engineering and violating the EULA, then saying that the forums were for paying customers only. They also ignored phone calls. When they admitted to it, they said they'd put it on a timetable, and not make legal compliance a top priority.
    Links: http://lwn.net/Articles/250798/ [lwn.net] and groklaw comment [groklaw.net]
  • NO IT DOESNT (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24, 2007 @05:47PM (#20736059)
    THE FIRST US GPL CASE TOOK TWO YEARS TO SETTLE

    http://www.groklaw.net/articlebasic.php?story=20050225223848129 [groklaw.net]
  • by JimDaGeek (983925) on Monday September 24, 2007 @08:39PM (#20737459)
    Do you work for this company?

    If you read TFA, Monsoon didn't do Sh!t until lawyers got involved. The developers of BusyBox tried to settle things "under the radar". If Monsoon was a company with any morals, they would have corrected their mistake(s) then. However, they did not. It wasn't until a lawsuit came and bad press came that they did what they should have done from the get-go.

    So no, it is not "nice to see that Monsoon is able to admit" anything. They basically said F-U until legal measures were taken. If BusyBox didn't have the ability to get support in fighting this, Monsoon would still be violating the GPL and saying F-U to the developers.

    There is nothing "insightful" about the GP (I don't mean that to offend you GP). This sounds like typical corporate crap. Monsoon continued in their infringement after being notified. Monsoon did nothing until legal matters were taken. Now Monsoon is all like "we 'intended' to comply and we will comply". BS.
  • Wrong (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 24, 2007 @09:12PM (#20737687)
    GPL is not prohibiting in principle the use of proprietary software in conjunction with GPL software, only using them in the same namespace

    Not so. The GPL explicitly allows distribution of a GPL-covered work in conjunction with a proprietary work when they are physically separate entities but placed together on the same storage medium as an aggregate. It says so in black and white. Aggregation is not derivation.

    The only thing that the GPL forbids is distribution of a statically linked binary comprised of those two, because that's a single work, and hence clearly the executable is then a derived work of the GPL-covered work.

    It does NOT forbid dynamic linking at all, because the .so or DLL loader combines the two works at the same time that it loads them into memory, and copying into memory is not regarded as an act of copying that invokes copyright. What's more, mere USE of a library does not trigger the GPL, ever --- Eben Moglen has explained repeatedly that the GPL is not a usage licence, but only a distribution licence, and in the case of dynamic linking the two parts are distributed only as an aggregate.

    So you've got it wrong. *Using* them in the same namespace is unrelated to distribution, and distribution is the only thing that triggers the GPL.
  • by Aim Here (765712) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @06:58AM (#20741167)
    I know about the copyright misuse doctrine. I know about the theories regarding copyright misuse and GPLed software.

    You're very wrong here though, as regards Lexmark. SCC and the EFF did argue a copyright misuse theory, but that theory related to antitrust issues (the theory that the GPL violated antitrust laws has already been soundly clobbered by the sixth circuit in Wallace vs IBM et al) and it wasn't addressed by the appellate court. Lexmark didn't 'permanently lose their copyright for copyright abuse', either - it's just that copyright protection isn't given to devices in software that need to be mimicked for interoperability purposes, much the same as in the Lotus/Borland case. The effect is superficially similar, but there are differences. With copyright misuse, the misuser doesn't 'permanently lose their copyright', they just temporarily lose the right to enforce it, until the misuse is rectified.

    In any case, it doesn't get anywhere near the busybox/Monsoon case.How in the name of Great Emacs Almighty can busybox be 'misusing' copyright by asking someone else to stop distributing their copyrighted code, only their code, and only the code that the two busybox developers own? That's a monopoly explicitly granted by the copyright laws, and there's no way that copyright misuse can possibly apply there...
  • by jgoemat (565882) on Tuesday September 25, 2007 @09:55AM (#20743441)

    It does NOT forbid dynamic linking at all, because the .so or DLL loader combines the two works at the same time that it loads them into memory, and copying into memory is not regarded as an act of copying that invokes copyright.
    [...]
    This General Public License does not permit incorporating your program into proprietary programs. If your program is a subroutine library, you may consider it more useful to permit linking proprietary applications with the library. If this is what you want to do, use the GNU Lesser General Public License instead of this License.

    First of all, loading into memory IS an act of copying that invokes copyright in the United States. Look up U.S. Code Title 17, Section 117 [copyright.gov]. The courts have held that in several cases. The reason that we can use them is because congress specifically carved out exceptions so that a person who rightfully posesses software can load it into memory to use it and also to make an archival backup copy. Second, the FSF's position is that dynamic linking creates a derivative work that must be distributed under the GPL. I'm not sure whether that would legally constitute copyright infringement on its own, but by using teh library at all you are agreeing to the GPL, so contract law might be used to force compliance.

    I am not a lawyer, seek a lawyer out if you want legal advice.

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