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Linux Australia Funds Important Legal Research on Free Software Compliance

Mar 04, 2010, 22:33 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brendan Scott)

[ Thanks to Brendan Scott for this link. ]

"Over the past twelve months or so I’ve noticed an upswing in enquiries about free software compliance. For example, someone might be seeking access to source code for embedded devices with Linux and/or Busybox on them. One of the key problems for pursuing compliance is the legal concept of “standing”. That is, does the court think you have a right to press the claim in question? So for example, if you see someone (A) breach a contract with someone else (B), a court will probably not let you sue A, basically because that is B’s business [1]. B might not be concerned about the breach, or B might have a relationship with A (or someone else) that might be jeopardised by suing A, so it should be up to B to make the decision about whether to proceed with a suit. Moreover, A has not infringed a right that you have, so why should you be able to sue? You’ve not suffered damage, so why should you be able to sue? In short, a court seeks to limit the people bringing actions to only those people whose rights have been infringed. So, if you, not holding copyright, see someone breaching the GPL, you can’t sue them in copyright to enforce compliance."

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