News

BusyBox Developers Agree To End GPL Lawsuit Against Verizon

Good Faith Discussions Result in Dismissal of Copyright Infringement Case

March 17, 2008

The Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) today announced that agreements have been reached to dismiss the GPL enforcement lawsuit filed by SFLC against Verizon Communications Inc. on behalf of two principal developers of BusyBox. Verizon distributes BusyBox to its FiOS customers in devices that are provided to Verizon by Actiontec Electronics, Inc.

BusyBox is a lightweight set of standard Unix utilities commonly used in embedded systems and is open source software licensed under GNU General Public License (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.

As a result of the plaintiffs agreeing to dismiss the lawsuit and reinstate Actiontec's and its customer's rights to distribute BusyBox under the GPL, Actiontec has agreed to appoint an Open Source Compliance Officer within its organization to monitor and ensure GPL compliance, to publish the source code for the version of BusyBox it previously distributed on its Web site, and to undertake substantial efforts to notify previous recipients of BusyBox from Actiontec and its customers, including Verizon, of their rights to the software under the GPL. The settlement also includes an undisclosed amount of financial consideration paid to the plaintiffs by Actiontec.

"We are happy to have settled this matter in a way that upholds the GPL and the interests of our clients," said Dan Ravicher, Legal Director of SFLC.

"Actiontec takes great pride in providing innovative, quality products to its customers, while respecting the intellectual property rights of third parties," said Dean Chang, Actiontec's President and CEO. "We appreciate the value of the technological contributions of the open source community, and look forward with renewed commitment to working cooperatively with them."

The lawsuit, "Erik Andersen and Rob Landley v. Verizon Communications Inc." case number 1:07-cv-11070-LTS, was filed December 6th, 2007, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

About the Software Freedom Law Center

The Software Freedom Law Center -- directed by Eben Moglen, one of the world's leading experts on copyright law as applied to software -- provides legal representation and other law-related services to protect and advance Free and Open Source Software. The Law Center is dedicated to assisting non-profit open source developers and projects. Visit SFLC at http://www.softwarefreedom.org.

About Actiontec Electronics, Inc.

Actiontec Electronics develops broadband connectivity and broadband-powered solutions that simplify and enrich the digital life -- delivering a unified experience that encompasses communications, entertainment, home management, and more. Actiontec offerings range from the market's broadest selection of IPTV-capable broadband home gateways for bringing IP-based video services into the home, to DSL modems, wireless networking devices, routers and digital entertainment devices. The company's carrier-class products are easy to install, manage, and use, and are sold through retail channels and broadband service providers. Founded in 1993, Actiontec is headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA, and maintains branch offices in Colorado Springs, CO; Basingstoke, United Kingdom; Shanghai, China; and Taipei, Taiwan. For more information, call 408-752-7700 or visit http://www.actiontec.com.

Media contacts:

Jim Garrison
Public Relations Coordinator
Software Freedom Law Center
+1-212-461-1910
garrison@softwarefreedom.org

Lesley Kirchman
Director of Corporate Marketing
Actiontec Electronics
408-548-4849
ljkirchman@actiontec.com

Other SFLC news...