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BusyBox and the GPL Prevail Again

Aug 03, 2010, 22:33 (7 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Pamela Jones)

"I thought you'd want to hear about what's just happened in the Software Freedom Conservancy v. Best Buy, et al case. It's another BusyBox case regarding infringement of the GPL, mostly about high definition televisions with BusyBox in them, and while the case is not finished regarding other defendants, it's certainly set another precedent. One of the defendants was Westinghouse Digital Technologies, LLC, which refused to participate in discovery. It had applied for a kind of bankruptcy equivalent in California. Judge Shira Scheindlin of the Southern District of New York has now granted Software Freedom Conservancy, a wing of Software Freedom Law Center, triple damages ($90,000) for willful copyright infringement, lawyer's fees and costs ($47,865), an injunction against Westinghouse, and an order requiring Westinghouse to turn over all infringing equipment in its possession to the plaintiffs, to be donated to charity. So, presumably a lot of high-def TVs are on their way to charities.

"Of course, to collect the money, the plaintiffs must apply to bankruptcy court as a creditor, and you know from watching the SCO case what can happen to creditors in a bankruptcy case, but if you are one of the other defendants, one thing you know for sure now: the GPL has teeth, it is enforceable in a court of law, and if you violate it, it can cost you. Remember when you are choosing a license, you want one that you know is enforceable in court."

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