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GPL Violators On The Prowl

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the neither-rain-nor-snow-nor-hail-nor-packetstorm dept.

GNU is Not Unix 636

ravenII writes "GPL Violations.org are looking after the GPL. Warning letters were personally handed over to companies at their CeBIT booths by Mr. Harald Welte, free software developer and founder of the gpl-violations.org project. It seems big boys like Motorola, Acer, AOpen, Micronet, Buffalo and Trendware seem to violate GPL. Please visit the site for more information on GPL enforcements and violators."

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636 comments

FRISP TROST? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11943219)

w00t!!!

FIRST POST SUCKERS!!

Ooohhh.. Leters! (2, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943228)

That'll show them!

Whats next, rude phone calls? Or how about ringing the door bell and then running away?

Sorry, but its not like Motorola is going to stop because a group they never heard of handed them a letter.

Perhaps (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11943254)

They could tell the Motorola people that their fathers were hamsters, and their mothers smelled of elderberries?

Then fart in their general direction?

Re:Ooohhh.. Leters! (5, Informative)

tabkey12 (851759) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943255)

Well, actually if you looked at their site you would find that they have already had considerable success against companies such as Asus [gpl-violations.org] & Sitecom [gpl-violations.org]

Remember kids, read before you post!

Re:Ooohhh.. Leters! (2, Informative)

flumps (240328) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943264)

yup.. FTFA:

In this year, the project managed to conclude more than 25 amicable agreements, two preliminary injunctions and one court order.

Re: Ooohhh.. Leters! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11943340)

Kind of hard when its down due to slashdotting.

Re:Ooohhh.. Leters! (1)

first.last (751698) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943373)

I for one would be more than happy to look at their site but it isn't coming up. Guess it sucks not having servers with Motorola processors in AOpen boxes... :)

Re:Ooohhh.. Leters! (4, Interesting)

Speare (84249) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943261)

In many cases, the letter will likely be forwarded to the internal legal department for review, which may spark questions and conversations internally. In many other cases, the letter will likely be found in some rarely-used briefcase several years after the earnest, booth-attending middle-manager has left the company.

Seems to be working though. (4, Informative)

hot_Karls_bad_cavern (759797) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943266)

FTFA:

Since more than one year, the gpl-violations.org project tries to bring vendors who use GPL licensed software in their products into license compliance. To achieve this goal, it uses a number of measures, ranging from warning letters over public documentation of GPL violations, up to legal proceedings. In this year, the project managed to conclude more than 25 amicable agreements, two preliminary injunctions and one court order.

Sounds like some folks are paying attention to this guy.

Re:Ooohhh.. Leters! (1)

gammygator (820041) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943281)

On the other hand, consumers can quit using the products of violators.

Re:Ooohhh.. Leters! (3, Insightful)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943306)

That's irrelevant. This is between the software author and the violator. If a company is violating the copyright of a software author, their infractions must be dealt with.

Re:Ooohhh.. Leters! (5, Funny)

suso (153703) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943360)

Whats next, rude phone calls? Or how about ringing the door bell and then running away?

Heh, that would be kinda funny actually. Like in one of those made for TV movies, could you imagine someone calling some female CEO of company X in the middle of the night and saying in a dark voice:

Dark voice: "We know where you got your source code, so you better put it back."
Female CEO: "Who is this?"
Dark voice: *pauses*
Female CEO: "Who is this? You better stop calling me"
Dark voice: *click*
Child: "What's wrong mommy?"
Female CEO: "Its ok honey, go back to sleep."

--
suso.org website/email hosting [suso.org], no disk space quotas and personalized support.

Four Questions (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11943230)

How do you get to prove it?

Who proves it?

Who sues at the end of the day?

Is there a legal fund set up to help out?

Re:Four Questions (1)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943383)

1.) You look at the code, and gee, it looks the same. 2.) See above. 3.) No one because most FOSS developers are dirt poor. 4.) No.

"Seem to" (3, Interesting)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943236)

We don't know?

If someone is acting on "our" behalf, I think "we" should know fully what is going on before hand.

For all we know, this could be a scare tactic by MS to worry people back to their side of the fence.

Re:"Seem to" (2, Interesting)

0x461FAB0BD7D2 (812236) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943303)

GPL-Violations should GPL their processes.

In any case, I doubt this is an MS tactic. They've actually settled the majority of the cases amicably. Microsoft does nothing legal amicably.

Also, where's Groklaw when you need it?

Re:"Seem to" (1)

rekoil (168689) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943393)

They are not acting on "our" behalf unless you are the author of the GPLed software being used in violation of the license. Remember, the GPL does not bequeath ownership of the code to the public domain. If it did, then the code would no longer be subject to the GPL.

Even worse: "Seems seem to" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11943397)

Re:"Seem to" (1)

Rudeboy777 (214749) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943495)

It seems big boys [...] seem to violate GPL

The author of the write-up seems more concerned with covering his ass with weasel words than actually expressing indignance at what seem to be violations.

Sigh (-1, Flamebait)

Leo McGarry (843676) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943238)

Information wants to be free unless you're somebody we don't like.

Re:Sigh (0)

Enigma_Man (756516) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943257)

Information wants to be free unless you're somebody we don't like.

Or unless you're somebody who takes code and doesn't follow the rules that the code was released under, or at least give credit where credit is due.

-Jesse

Re:Sigh (3, Insightful)

Leo McGarry (843676) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943344)

But that's exactly my point, don't you see? That's the contradiction. You guys want everybody else to play by your rules when it comes to computer programs (those rules being fairly complex and confusing, from my point of view), but you have absolutely no desire to play by other people's rules when it comes to things like music and movies.

And those rules, by contrast, are incredibly simple: Pay for what you take, and don't give people copies. But any time somebody like the RIAA or the MPAA try to enforce those rules, you guys go positively batshit over it.

That's the contradiction. That's what I'm trying to point out. Hopefully somebody will read this and go, "Huh. I don't know if I agree, but he's got a fair point."

Re:Sigh (1, Insightful)

Angafirith (825501) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943453)

From my (albeit limited) understanding of the GPL, it just wants you to give credit to the original authors of the code. When someone downloads a song, they are not in any way claiming that they wrote the song. There's the difference betwen the two.

Re:Sigh (2, Insightful)

dash2 (155223) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943457)

"You guys?"

What, everyone who writes GPLed software is a music pirate?

Unlike all those Windows users who, undoubtedly, have never broken IP laws by, say, borrowing somebody's copy of Office or downloading a Dreamweaver zipfile?

Dear me.

Re:Sigh (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943269)

Yes, information wants to be free, and this guy seems to be helping to keep it free, and prevent it (i.e. information-processing logic that is based on someone else's IP that released it under the GPL) from being locked away inside closed-source products. What's your problem?

Re:Sigh (-1, Flamebait)

Leo McGarry (843676) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943305)

My problem is that you seem to have a really weird definition of "free." Your definition of "free" apparently means "do not touch."

I'm not singling you out. I think you, like most people, have probably never given the whole subject much thought. You read on some Web site that "free" means so-n-so, and you adopt that interpretation, without ever really stopping to think that that's not really what "free" means at all.

Re:Sigh (1)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943411)

That's a blatant misrepresentation of his point - a straw man. Free-as-in-GPL doesn't mean "do not touch".

The GPL attempts to ensure that modifications to licensed, distributed, source code remain available to users. Whether that is a worthwhile cause is a matter of opinion; personally, I believe that for community OSS projects, the requirement for companies making modified versions to also make source available is generally good for the project.

FYI (1)

TuringTest (533084) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943455)

without ever really stopping to think that that's not really what "free" means at all.

Then think about this: there at least two mainly known definitions of free: positive freedom [answers.com] and negative freedom [answers.com].

The GPL follows the first one. Libertarians (i.e.e right wing people) follow the second. That's why you don't understand the mismatch, because there isn't one meaning for freedom.

And as positive > negative, *I* would say that GPL has more freedom than BSD.

Apropriate action (5, Funny)

JamesP (688957) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943240)

It'll be good to see GPL violators being held responsible. We can start with CherryOS.

Paraphrasing:

Violators will be shot
Survivors will be shot again

Held accountable? When? (2, Insightful)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943370)

This is good. I wrote in a previous comment that I thought the GPL had no teeth, if the FSF where the only people looking into GPL violations, because they don't really do a Hell of a lot about violators (sorry, it's a fact), and most FOSS developers don't have the resources to seek a legal solution against violators. None other than Bruce Perens took me to task for this opinion, but I still stand by it: The GPL might as well be a blank sheet of paper for most FOSS developers, what do they intend on doing when some Taiwanese hardware manufacturer embeds their code? Spit a lot? It takes a lot of money, money that few of us have.

Court? (3, Insightful)

j.bellone (684938) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943243)

If nobody is going to take these people to court then there is absolutely no reason to hand these people warning letters. They have no intention of changing their practices unless they are taken to court: they are no better than Apple or Microsoft.

Re:Court? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11943307)

They have no intention of changing their practices unless they are taken to court

RTFA, he's already got 25 amicable settlements.

Later that same day (5, Funny)

jaymzter (452402) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943246)

GPLviolations.org was served with a patent infringement suit from the BSA

Re:Later that same day (5, Interesting)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943331)

That gives me an idea...what if a bunch of GPL authors got together and formed a non-profit whose sole purpose was to become a member of the BSA? If armed federal marshalls busting down your door won't make you comply with the GPL, then nothing will!

Re:Later that same day (4, Insightful)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943413)

That gives me an idea...what if a bunch of GPL authors got together and formed a non-profit whose sole purpose was to become a member of the BSA? If armed federal marshalls busting down your door won't make you comply with the GPL, then nothing will!

This is the most sensible thing I've seen written on this subject thus far. It's a good point: WHY does FOSS not have representation in the BSA?

so would GPL (1)

coolcold (805170) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943251)

end up being one big company later having all "legal department" to enforce GPL and IP issues as well as defending them?

google (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11943262)

Google has been doing this since they have been selling their packaged search. Kernel modifications and various other patches in their search boxes. It seems like the "OSS" community only wants to see what they want to see.

Re:google (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11943482)

It's not a GPL violation is if you don't distribute it, dumb ass.

Civil Procedure (1)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943276)

Giving a legal letter to some booth lackey at a convention is NOT how you get a company's attention. Send it to the CEO, the resident agent, the law department, heck ANYONE who won't simply throw it away.

Re:Civil Procedure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11943408)

We prefer the label "Booth Jockey"

No teeth (2, Insightful)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943278)

They can't do anything but send letters.

They have no standing - only the copyright holders have this, and if they don't do anything then nothing will happen.

They might be able to whip slashdot into a frenzy though.. maybe that's all that it's all about?

Re:No teeth (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943304)

actually they do have teeth.

they've gotten some injuctions, iirc(seems slashdottted can't confirm).

gpl sort of gives teeth to even those who are not the original writer.

Re:No teeth (0)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943472)

they've gotten some injuctions, iirc(seems slashdottted can't confirm).

IANAL, but how can you get an injunction when you have no standing? They are NOT the GPL copyright holder for these things, unless the are legitimately acting as the copyright holder's agent, than they are full of shit and using scare tactics. No better than the BSA.

Re:No teeth (5, Informative)

why-lurk (252433) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943350)

If you RTFA, you would see that Harald Welte is a developer and copyright holder of netfilter, which is used in a number of commercial firewall products. He also has license to prosecute the copyrights of some other developers.

So yes, he has standing to both warn and sue the companies he has given notice to (as well as the companies that have settled with gpl-violations.org).

--kirby

Re:No teeth (1)

Meagermanx (768421) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943381)

How 'bout someone just posts their websites and the email addresses of all their CEOs or whatever, so they can feel the pain of a good Slashdotting, and the agony of four thousand "f111r57 posss7!!! LoooLL~~~!1!"
That would teach 'em...

all negative (5, Insightful)

fr1kk (810571) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943284)

Is all the feedback going to be negative? Everything has to start somewhere, and frankly I applaud the efforts of this guy to at least start enforcing a license that many companies do not take seriousley. If nothing else, it brings to light the face that many legit companies in fact do not care to honor the GPL, but benefit from the software that is covered by it.

GPL too restrictive (-1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943300)

If I was a developer, I'd be very wary around GPL'd code. I believe the GPL is unnecessarily restrictive, and OSS would be better off without ANY restrictions on use.

Afterall, information wants to be free. Limiting its potential with arbitrary restrictions benefits nobody.

Re:GPL too restrictive (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11943321)

Well, if you WERE a developer, you could get off your duff & do something about it, eh? There are these "little-known" BSD operating systems under your "less-restrictive" licenses. Check them out sometime when you're done with the C in 21 Days book.

Re:GPL too restrictive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11943322)

Yup... every time we use something (we develop on Linux) we check the license out. If it's GPL, we either write our own or find something BSD licensed. In the past, libraries that I have had to write from scratch to achieve GPL code functionality, I've released under BSD.

All those who claim the GPL isn't viral have no idea and/or have never tried to use it on anything that isn't destined to be GPL.

Re:GPL too restrictive (1)

mattyrobinson69 (751521) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943382)

i personally think the GPL is the best license currently available (except maybe the apache type licenses because of their patent clauses).

the spirit of the gpl is that the code stays open. if you want people to write code for you to sell, use bsd software.

Re:GPL too restrictive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11943323)

Hense the BSD license.

Re:GPL too restrictive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11943334)

"OSS" already has one - see the BSD license.

Re:GPL too restrictive (5, Insightful)

stevens (84346) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943339)

f I was a developer, I'd be very wary around GPL'd code.

Good thing you're not. We don't need any more ignorant developers.

Those like me who've read and understand the license, use it to make sure the programs we distribute are not redistributed without source. We *want* that restriction. If you don't like that restriction, feel free to not use the code and go the hell away.

Re:GPL too restrictive (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11943365)

shut up you long hair

Re:GPL too restrictive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11943490)

Good thing you're not. We don't need any more ignorant developers.

Its not about passing around source code. GPL forces me to make any code that's linked with it to be GPL as well. Even plugins written for a program, if GPL'ed require the entire program to be GPL'ed [gnu.org]. That's a totally unnecessary condition. I'd rather choose BSD or CPL which ask that you pass around source code but aren't thoughtlessly viral.

Re:GPL too restrictive (4, Insightful)

FLAGGR (800770) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943376)

benifits nobody

Guess what, most companies don't want to give back source code, and its apperant by how many companies are violating the GPL. Having the restrictions the GPL does, it causes the companies to give back, which helps the community. Take PearPC for example. CherryOS has (obviously) ripped the code from them, and claimed that they wrote it all (in a few months or something, by one man, with no programming experience, which is bullshit) Nowadays, PearPC doesn't get many updates, because everytime they do, CherryOS does too. It's dampened the whole thing for the developers. If CherryOS was forced to obey theGPL (which they will eventually, some organization like the EFF or something will take them to court) then this wouldn't happen. Now tell me how limiting restrictions would help this case.

Re:GPL too restrictive (-1, Flamebait)

goldspider (445116) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943405)

Why should anybody be forced to do anything with code? If they don't want to re-distribute the code, they shouldn't have to. I thought the "free" in "Free Software" was about freedom.

Re:GPL too restrictive (1)

FLAGGR (800770) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943428)

Yeah, the freedom to use the code however you want, as long as you let others do the same.

Re:GPL too restrictive (1)

base3 (539820) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943447)

It is. And people who don't agree with the GPL are free to write their own code and license it however they like.

Re:GPL too restrictive (1)

Homology (639438) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943394)

If I was a developer, I'd be very wary around GPL'd code. I believe the GPL is unnecessarily restrictive, and OSS would be better off without ANY restrictions on use.

If a company does not want to show their source code, they should use a BSD (or similar) licensed software or quite simply write their own. Some manufacturers of wireless access points would not have been on the recieving end of the GPL stick if they'd used something like OpenBSD with their own drivers.

Re:GPL too restrictive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11943395)

Well, the parent will almost certainly be modded down as a troll, but I agree.

The GPL is far too insular. When you release your code under the GPL you do it only for the good of other GPL users. On the other hand, when you release your code under a BSD-like license, you're doing it for the good of the entire computing field.

The GPL uses the exact same predatory licensing practices, that /.ers often complain about big corporations using, to try to force the entire industry to do things the FSF's way. This kind of machiavellian restrictive licensing is what we should be trying to get away from.

Re:GPL too restrictive (2, Informative)

thelexx (237096) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943471)

Bullshit. The GPL only prohibits taking open software, closing it and selling it as your own with no source available. You are free to use GPL libraries in your proprietary code without releasing your code, and to sell your closed code. Try again.

Re:GPL too restrictive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11943431)

The arbitrary restrictions are FAR from arbitrary.

It's designed to make sure that someone doesn't take your hard work and tweak it as such to lock you out. The restrictions are for your protection.

How many people run Darwin? All the BSD license did is let apple steal BSD and call it OSX. How much does apple contribute back? Not enough, considering their record profits this year. Would any of that been possible without OSX?

Re:GPL too restrictive (5, Insightful)

Hiro Antagonist (310179) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943456)

I'll second the other poster who said, 'Good thing you aren't a developer.' See, development takes work; lots of it, in fact. Writing a program doat does anything more than put 'Hello, world!' on the screen takes a measure of effort that you, as a non-developer, can't really comprehend.

See, writing programs, especially *good* programs, isn't easy. It takes skill, patience, and experience, as well as a certain type of mind that isn't very common. And, before you tell me that even your seventy-two year old mother knows how to program, ask yourself this -- does she know what an eigenvector is? How about maxtrix transforms? Relational algebra? Multivariable calculus?

Why are these important? Because programming requires a high level of mathematical ability, at least if you want to have any understanding of why you are writing code a certain way.

So, all of this together makes a programmer, and people who do this sort of thing pour hours into their work. This is something they have created, and honestly, they should, and do, have the final word over what happens to their works. Some people are generous enough to release their works under a license like the GPL, which enables anyone else to use the program which the programmer has created, but with the caveat that the program can't be stolen and sold.

As a programmer, I'm happy the GPL exists, because there are a lot of ideas I've had for 'open-source' programs, and while I am happy to write them, I don't want to spend months coding, just so that some asshat can try to charge money for something I, as the creator of that thing, have released for free.

Finally, information doesn't 'want' anything -- it's an intangible concept, like 'santa claus' or 'income tax reform'. People want information to be free, and while that's all and good, there are far too many people demanding free information, and far too few people willing to work to provide it.

What do the GPL thugs look like? (4, Funny)

British (51765) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943302)

Let me guess.

1.2-300 pounds
2.black duster or trenchcoat
3.t-shirt with either Star Wars or some free 4.computer-related shirt acquired from a trade show
5.big beard. Mandatory
5.telltale fedora
6.2 cellphones on belt pocket. One might be a Treo.
7.Lifetime membership to RenFair

You don't want to mess with these guys. :)

Re:What do the GPL thugs look like? (4, Funny)

hsmith (818216) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943329)

They run up to the booth yelling "lightning bolt lightning bolt lightning bolt lightning bolt lightning bolt"

Re:What do the GPL thugs look like? (4, Funny)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943355)

If you weren't a poser you would have said "magic missle".

-Peter

Re:What do the GPL thugs look like? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11943398)


He's just a trendy blog reader.

Last week, a remix of this [house8.net] two-year old video hit.

from the neither-rain-nor-snow-nor-hail-nor... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11943313)

Neither means one or the other. You can't include three things.

Let me get this straight (0)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943316)

There is an umbrella organization who doesn't own the products in question but is sending letters to people it claims is infringing on the use of said products and is threatening to take legal action.

Why does this sound so familiar?

* To see some of the stories you've been missing, see my Journal *

Re:Let me get this straight (2, Interesting)

tglx (664015) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943464)

Harald Welte is one of the netfilter guys. Look into MAINTAINERS and CREDITS.
He owns the stuff and he knows what he is talking about. The netfilter team also accomplished the first acknowledgement of the GPL in a court in Europe.

tglx

Re:Let me get this straight (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11943475)

"Why does this sound so familiar?"

Because it's wrong, and it's on Slashdot?

If you had RTFA, you might have noticed that the *author* of the code is the one sending the letters.

Wait (4, Insightful)

northcat (827059) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943319)

Before making nonsense, worthless comment, wait till the site gets unslashdotted and READ it. Most of you question might be answered there. Many other questions being asked are just stupid or have obvious answers. Like, how can you prove that the violaters are indeed using GPLed software. Many of the violaters are openly using GPLed software. Like using the Linux kernel. And then some question are very silly/small minded. Please.

Re:Wait (4, Funny)

mvizos (622166) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943423)

Whoa Whoa Whoa...You know you're on slashdot, right? And yet you expect people wait to read an article before commenting? WTF. Again, I state, this is slashdot. People don't read. The ones that DO read DON'T comprehend. It's just pretty characters on the screen.

How can they tell? (2, Interesting)

fitten (521191) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943347)

How can they tell that a binary has GPL code in it? I mean, do they use strings or something? If that's it, then it's pretty easy to defeat their GPL detection. Looking at the assembly isn't telling because some simple algorithms will be written the same and produce similar assembly, and optimizations will mangle all that anyway.

Re:How can they tell? (1)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943406)

If people worked enough to change all the strings in the code to be different, they'd probably just write their own software and not deal with the hassles.

What's probably going on in most of these places are lazy engineers using code from the net and not pushing the whole thing through management to get buy-in on using GPL stuff. They aren't going to bother to change all the strings around.

Re:How can they tell? (1)

wertarbyte (811674) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943432)

Yes, they do use strings.If you want to eleminate alle text strings in an applications, you probably can rewrite it (theink of parameter names etc.)

Won't last (1)

saddino (183491) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943364)

It'll take just one serious error/mallicious report/misidentification to be cause for libel and bring a suit that takes this site right out of commission.

Why isn't KISS sued? (1)

julie-h (530222) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943387)

I think we all remember the MPlayer and libmad case, where KISS [kiss-technology.com] stole GPL code, and used it in their DVD recoarders and DVD players.

Wouldn't this be a good place to start, as KISS doesn't give a f**k about the GPL?

CherryOS Much? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11943409)

These people should be the next target. Maybe they'll be forced to GPL all that work the Pakistani company did for them.

What about Iomega (5, Interesting)

nberardi (199555) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943410)

I have seen violations at places like Iomega for there NAS drives. It was one of the issues that I brought up durring beta testing. And they said it wasn't an issue that they were using Linux with out releasing the source because their firmware developer for the embeded Linux told them it wasn't a problem and they weren't going to release the source. This little product only costed about 200.00 for network storage, and it has the potential to hit the market like the Linksys WRT54G did with custom firmware.

If anybody is interested in pursing Iomega about this let me know because I will sign a petition.

Copyright infringement (1, Insightful)

Pan T. Hose (707794) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943419)

It is important to note that you cannot really violate the GNU General Public License per se. You can only violate the copyright law by not accepting the GPL and doing anything that is otherwise prohibited by the copyright. The GPL is not an EULA but a real copyright license. That is why the GPL doesn't really have to be "tested" in court because we already know that the copyright infringement is illegal and tested to no end, and it doesn't really matter whether the protected work in question is Microsoft Windows or GNU/Linux, because without accepting and following the GPL, you don't have any license at all. Of course it doesn't make you a "thief" (unless you also wrongfully took or used someone else's property with the intent to permanently deprive the owner or the person with rightful possession of that property or its use), neither does it make you a "pirate" (unless you also rob or plunder at sea without a commission from a recognised sovereign nation) but it makes you the copyright law violator, and that is something to worry about, especially under the jurisdictions with draconian copyright laws. That is why instead of talking about GPL violations, we should really talk about copyright infringement, because if you don't want to follow the GPL, you might illegally use Microsoft software just as well.

How can you enforce a non-contract? (2, Interesting)

daikokatana (845609) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943435)

I have actually never understood how this whole GPL stuff works. The bit I find difficult to understand is the whole legal part - how can you enforce your rights? There is no signed contract, hence no agreement.

My company and I have looked at open source opportunities before, but it's precisely for this reason that we kept away from OS - even though we felt we could use it and contribute to it... Can somebody please explain this to me, or provide me with a clear link?

Re:How can you enforce a non-contract? (4, Informative)

mikeplokta (223052) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943468)

If the violator doesn't accept the GPL, nothing else gives them the right to use the code -- it's not public domain, it's licensed under a specific license. It's not a matter of contract law, it's copyright law, and no contract is required, any more than New Line Cinema needs to have a contract with you to stop you from selling a remixed version of The Fellowship Of The Ring.

GPL for Patents? (5, Interesting)

pherthyl (445706) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943442)

I wonder if some company may eventually say:

"We won't sue you for infringing on our patents if you don't sue us for infringing on the GPL"

Also, would that even be legal to accept an agreement like that? Nevermind that it would probably be a bad thing for OSS.

I Am GPL, Hear Me Roar! (2, Insightful)

blueZhift (652272) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943450)

This opens up another front on the OSS battle so to speak. While some posters here question the value of informing companies that they may be in violation of the GPL and claim that they can simply ignore it, companies that ignore such warnings do so at their own peril. Why? Because from a legal standpoint they can't be sure who will hit them with a suit or when. There are all sorts of questions about who would have legal standing to bring a suit, and this itself would vary from state to state and country to country. If I'm a company bent on violating the GPL, defending that could be difficult especially if a GPL backing company like IBM or Novell decides it's in their best interests to get involved and bankrolls the lawsuit.

Given this, I think few companies will intentionally violate the GPL. So I think that most smart companies if informed of a problem, will probably rectify it one way or another rather than risk an uncertain threat of liability. Certainly any high profile organization with a smart legal counsel would. The not so smart ones are another story!

Hyperion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11943462)

Too bad Hyperion Entertainment [hyperion-e...inment.biz] didn't dare show up at CeBIT. Oh well, they'll get their C&D letters by registered mail instead, but it's not as entertaining when the humiliation doesn't take place in public right off the bat.

So what? (-1, Flamebait)

Jon Peterson (1443) | more than 9 years ago | (#11943499)

I don't get it. So they send these threatening letters to a few people - the so-called 'major abusers' or whatever, in the hope that the hundreds of thousands of 'home abusers' who just copy a few lines or, share their favourite algorithms with personal friends, are really going to change.

Frankly, if the GNU crowd want to stop copyright abuse, they'd better start outputting some source code actually worth protecting. I mean, have you _looked_ at sourceforge recently? It's all half finished projects and crappy PHP webapps. Who cares if we abuse the copyright on that stuff?

Basically, the new GNU license abuse is here to stay, and the Free Software industry better get used to it. Instead, they were lost in their own self-congratulatory world, talking up a few chart-toppers like Apache and Tomcat, while all around them hundrends of little start-up software companies were ripping the source code from apps and embedding in commercial stuff.

Basically, the FSF needs to ditch their bully boy tactics, and deal with the fact that copy-and-paste theft of neat bits of GNU code are here to stay. Sure, go imprison some college kids, if you want to stoop that low. But I for one will still be using peer to peer networks and the next generation of anonymous file sharing networks to obtain Free Software source code, and compile into my applications without telling anyone.

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