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Re: SFLC files 2nd intimidation suit

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: SFLC files 2nd intimidation suit
Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2007 14:04:42 +0100

2nd *and* 3rd. :-)

The SFLC filed lawsuits Monday on behalf of the developers of BusyBox
against High-Gain Antennas of Parker, Colorado, and Xterasys of City of
Industry, California. The lawsuits, filed in U.S. District Court for the
Southern District of New York, allege that the companies are
distributing BusyBox illegally, without meeting the GPL requirement of
providing access to the source code of their implementation. 

BusyBox, available since November 1999, is a lightweight set of standard
Unix utilities commonly used in embedded systems licensed under GPL
version 2. The two companies are distributing "BusyBox, or a modified
version of BusyBox that is substantially similar to BusyBox," the
lawsuits allege. The lawsuits ask the court to give the BusyBox
developers the profits from that software, plus other damages. 

But Richard Bruckner, CEO of High-Gain Antennas, said the SFLC is
mistaken about the GPL violation. The company, which makes wireless
broadband antennas and related products, uses firmware from a company
called Edimax, not BusyBox, and makes the source code available, at the
request of customers, he said. 

Bruckner said he tried to explain the situation in a conference call
with SFLC officials but was hung up on. During that first conversation
SFLC was "already asking for money," he said. "What they need to do is
get their act together and read the source code." 

If the SFLC doesn't end its threats, High-Gain Antennas may file a
countersuit, Bruckner added. 

But Dan Ravicher, SFLC's legal director, said the organization has tried
to work with both companies and has not gotten adequate responses. The
two sides may still be able to settle the lawsuits out of court, he

"There is a hope, but since neither defendant wanted to resolve the
matter privately previously, we'll have to see if they want to do so
now," he said. "In the end, we can hope to settle all we want, but if
the defendants don't want to do so, we can't force them to. All we can
do is ask the court to force the defendants to comply with the law." 

Ravicher also said he's confident in the lawsuits. "The evidence we
collected during our investigation was sufficient for us to form a basis
for our belief that they are distributing BusyBox and are not doing so
in compliance with the GPL," he said. 

If either case filed is heard before a judge, it would be the first time
that a GPL infringement lawsuit has gone to trial in the U.S. 

Officials from Xterasys weren't available to comment on the lawsuit
against their company. 

These are the second and third lawsuits the SFLC has filed on behalf of
BusyBox developers Erik Andersen and Rob Landley.


"The revolution might take significantly longer than anticipated."

                                     -- The GNU Monk Harald Welte

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