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Major US Retailers Get Named In Open Source Software Freedom Law Center Lawsuit

Major electronic companies like Best Buy, Samsung, JVC and Westinghouse have been dragged into a lawsuit filed by the Software Freedom Law Center on behalf of Software Freedom Conservancy in Federal court in New York on grounds license infringement in the use of open source software.

The lawsuit claims that the companies sold products which contained BusyBox application which has been developed by Software Freedom Conservancy.

The software company has claimed that the electronic companies have violated the terms of the license of the software which is protected by GNU General Public License version 2 that governs the use of several open source applications.

The software in question comes installed in the Linux operating system and is apparently used in many of the products which are sold by these electronic companies.

According to the GNU GPL v2, anyone is allowed to use, modify and view the software for free on a prerequisite that the source code of the software is distributed to customers.

A lawyer at Software Freedom Law Center commented that the lawsuit was slapped on these companies when they repeatedly failed and ignored the request of releasing the source code of their software.

Our Comments

What will happen if the SFLC wins? Will the 16 companies named in the lawsuit be forced to pay a fee or license or will they have to open source the custom made code? Interesting discussion indeed about a slightly ironic situation where lawyers come to the help of the open source community.

Related Links

16 Companies sued by the Software Freedom Law Center


Best Buy, Samsung, others named in GPL lawsuit

(ZD Net)

Freedom on the Offensive with Multiple Lawsuits

(Dani web)

Best Buy, JVC, Samsung, More Hit With Lawsuit

(PC Mag)

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.