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GPL Violations: Is Cisco the Big One?

Dec 14, 2008, 22:03 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Glyn Mody)

"And yet, surprisingly, the Free Software Foundation has been very reluctant to take those who violate the licence's terms to court, preferring, instead, to adopt a softly-softly approach. As Eben Moglen, the main architect of the FSF's legal policy, told me back in 2000, when I interviewed him for Rebel Code:

"About a dozen times a year," Moglen says, "somebody does something [that] violates the GPL. Most of the time, they're doing so inadvertently, they haven't thought through what the requirements are. And I call them them and I say, 'Look, you're violating the GPL. What you need to do is this. Would you help us?'" The answer is invariably yes, he says.

"What is true," Moglen admits, "is that no large American software company has engaged in a public controversy with us over the enforcement of the GPL." And although some might conclude "that means...there's something about the GPL [that] is not enforceable, I would turn that proposition around," Moglen says. "There have been no such controversies because nobody thinks they're going to in them."

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