|| ||Lysandra Ohrstrom <lohrstrom-AT-softwarefreedom.org> |
|| ||djwm-AT-h-online.com |
|| ||Media Alert: Best Buy, Samsung, And Westinghouse Named In SFLC Suit
|| ||Mon, 14 Dec 2009 11:05:47 -0500|
|| ||Article, Thread
Best Buy, Samsung, Westinghouse, And Eleven Other Brands Named In SFLC
Evidence of GPL Violations and Copyright Infringement Found in TVs, DVD
Players, and Dozens of other Electronic Devices
New York, NY, December 14, 2009//Best Buy, Samsung, Westinghouse, and
JVC are among the 14 consumer electronics companies named in a copyright
infringement lawsuit filed today in New York by the Software Freedom Law
The SFLC is a non-profit law firm established in 2005 to provide
pro-bono legal services to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS)
developers. The suit was filed on behalf of the Software Freedom
Conservancy (Conservancy), the non-profit corporate home of the popular
software application BusyBox and many other FOSS projects, and Erik
Andersen, one of the program's principal developers and copyright holders.
The suit charges each of the defendants with selling products containing
BusyBox in violation of the terms of its license, the GNU General Public
License version 2 (GPLv2).
Known as the "Swiss Army Knife" for Linux, BusyBox is a common component
of a growing number of household devices, including Best Buy's Insignia
Blu Ray DVD Player, Samsung HDTVs, Westinghouse's 52-inch LCD
Television, and more than a dozen other products that the defendants
have continued to sell without the permission of the software's
copyright holders. Under the terms of the GPLv2, anyone can view,
modify, and use the program for free on the condition that they
distribute the source code to customers.
The SFLC confirmed BusyBox violations in nearly 20 separate products
cited in the complaint and gave each defendant ample time to comply with
the requirements of the license. "We try very hard to resolve these
types of issues privately with companies, as we always prefer
cooperation" said SFLC counsel Aaron Williamson. "We brought this suit
as a last resort after each of these defendants ignored us or failed to
meaningfully respond to our requests that they release the source code".
The First Rule of GPL Compliance: "Be Responsive When Contacted":
The SFLC has dealt with over a hundred compliance matters since its
inception on behalf of various clients, including BusyBox and developers
of significant portions of the GNU/Linux operating system. The vast
majority of these matters usually end with violators voluntarily coming
into compliance. In the rare cases when a company refuses to cooperate
in good faith, the SFLC has been forced to take legal action on behalf
of its clients to enforce FOSS requirements.
Since 2007, the SFLC has sued six companies, including Verizon and
Cisco, for selling products with embedded FOSS programs in violation of
the GPL. Though the scope of this lawsuit is unprecedented in that it
includes 14 defendants, the SFLC's primary goal is to encourage
companies to join the software freedom movement, said Bradley M. Kuhn,
Conservancy's president and the SFLC's technology director. "As embedded
computer systems become more commonplace in everyday consumer
electronics and more companies recognize the zero-cost licensing of Free
Software over proprietary alternatives, it is more important than ever
for manufacturers to learn to comply with the GPL", Kuhn explained.
"The SFLC's objective, on behalf of its clients, is not only to ensure
the freedom of FOSS code but to see that BusyBox's users get the full
benefit of the software" Williamson added.
The suit was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of New York and will be heard by Judge Shira A. Scheindlin.
Drafts of the complaint and the release are vailable on our website at
www.Softwarefreedom.org and attached.
For additional information or to arrange interviews, please contact SFLC
communications director, Lysandra Ohrstrom, at (212) 461-1915 or by
e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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