SFLC Files Lawsuit Against 14 Companies for GPL Violations

Dec 16, 2009

Attorneys at the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) have filed a lawsuit against 14 electronics companies for copyright infringements. The suit accuses the companies of selling products containing BusyBox software in violation of the GPL.

Among the devices are Blu Ray DVDs from Best Buy, Samsung HDTVs, a 52-inch LCD Television from Westinghouse and more than a dozen other products. According to the SFLC, manufacturers of these products are using the multi-functional binary BusyBox contrary to conditions outlined in GPLv2. These conditions usually include a GPL disclaimer and the release of the source code upon request.

The SFLC attorneys in this case represent BusyBox developer and copyright-holder Erik Andersen and the Software Freedom Conservancy, an organization consisting of developers and free software projects.

The SFLC claim defendants refused requests for cooperation and the lawsuit was filed as a last resort. A (PDF copy of the complaint can be found online.

The mass suit is the largest action the SFLC has ever taken in GPL matters. In Germany, the Netfilter/Iptables developer, Harald Welte, has repeatedly enforced GPL conditions upon router manufacturers.

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