[clug] Fwd: [LINK] Software Freedom Law Center files first US GPL infringement suit

Alex Satrapa grail at goldweb.com.au
Mon Sep 24 06:07:51 GMT 2007

On 24/09/2007, at 15:26 , Michael Cohen wrote:

> Busybox will have to prove that the defendant actually
> extended busybox itself, and even then only those modifications are
> releasable under gpl.

The GPL states that the distributor must make the source available  
when asked.

I think there was some case about a Linux distribution (Mepis) which  
got into some trouble because it was based entirely upon some other  
distribution (Debian?), and pointed people at the original  
distribution for the source[1].

So people operating under the mistaken assumption that "the source is  
available somewhere" while distributing (even a pristine version of)  
a program are actually violating the intent of the GPL which is that  
the end user must be able to get the source for the exact version of  
a program that they are using, from the exact same people they got  
the binary version from. I understand that in GPL3, this intent is  
spelt out explicitly.

I am not a lawyer, but don't believe that - in order to prove  
violation of the licence - the Busybox folks would need to show  
anything more than (a) the offender distributes a version of busybox  
in binary form, and (b) the offender does not provide the source code  
for that version of busybox when asked.


[1] http://www.linux.com/articles/55285

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