News

SFLC Files Another Round of GPL Violation Lawsuits on Behalf of BusyBox Developers

June 10, 2008

The Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) today announced that it has filed two more copyright infringement lawsuits, on behalf of two principal developers of BusyBox, alleging violation of the GNU General Public License (GPL). The defendants in this new round of lawsuits are Bell Microproducts, Inc. and Super Micro Computer, Inc.

BusyBox is a lightweight set of standard Unix utilities commonly used in embedded systems and is open source software licensed under GPL version 2. One of the conditions of the GPL is that re-distributors of BusyBox are required to ensure that each downstream recipient is provided access to the source code of the program. Both companies have continued to distribute BusyBox illegally without complete source code, despite having been contacted by SFLC.

The complaints request that an injunction be issued against each company and that damages and litigation costs be awarded to the plaintiffs. Copies of the complaints are available at http://www.softwarefreedom.org/news/2008/jun/10/busybox/

"Before filing these lawsuits, we contacted both companies and gave them the opportunity to remedy their violations privately, but they were continually unresponsive," said Aaron Williamson, SFLC Counsel. "When companies are contacted by SFLC or anyone else about a GPL violation, they need to respond by taking good faith steps toward compliance. If they do not, lawsuits like these are the predictable consequences."

The lawsuits filed yesterday are the latest in a series of GPL enforcement lawsuits filed on behalf of BusyBox developers Erik Andersen and Rob Landley. All of the previous lawsuits have resulted in out-of-court settlements requiring the defendants to distribute source code in compliance with the GPL.

The lawsuits announced today were both filed June 9 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.


The lawsuit "Erik Andersen and Rob Landley v. Bell Microproducts, Inc. d.b.a. Hammer Storage," case number 08-CV-5270, will be heard by Judge Baer. The lawsuit "Erik Andersen and Rob Landley v. Super Micro Computer, Inc.," case number 08-CV-5269, will be heard by Judge Berman.

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