The GPL to get its day in court

The GPL is going to court. Maybe. Probably not.

It seems that most of the world's open source-related lawsuits emerge from Utah, for whatever reason. First there was Caldera vs. Microsoft (which, of course, didn't have anything to do with open source, but for Caldera's inclusion). Then there was SCO. Somewhere along the way there was Linksys, which didn't have anything more to do with Utah than that I used to visit its offices, and I'm from Utah.

And now we have BusyBox (through the Software Freedom Law Center) suing Monsoon Multimedia, with BusyBox's project founder, Erik Andersen, a former colleague of mine at Lineo (based in Utah). This is the industry's first US copyright lawsuit based on an alleged violation of the GPL (GNU General Public License). You can read the complaint here [PDF].

There really is no compelling news story here, but for the fact that this will be the first time that the GPL gets tested in court (if the suit ever makes it to court - most lawsuits don't). I doubt it will make it to court, denying us of the test many of us long to see. Oh, well.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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