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Re: SFLC's GPL court enforcement -- track record

From: Alexander Terekhov
Subject: Re: SFLC's GPL court enforcement -- track record
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 2008 21:04:11 +0100


From:   Jim Garrison <> 
Subject:   BusyBox Developers Agree To End GPL Lawsuit Against Verizon 
Date:   Mon, 17 Mar 2008 11:00:09 -0400 
Message-ID:   <> 


     BusyBox Developers Agree To End GPL Lawsuit Against Verizon

 Good Faith Discussions Result in Dismissal of Copyright Infringement

NEW YORK, 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

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

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

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

Media contacts:

Jim Garrison
Public Relations Coordinator
Software Freedom Law Center

Lesley Kirchman
Director of Corporate Marketing
Actiontec Electronics


(Log in to post comments) 

Apparently, Verizon wasn't distributing?
Posted Mar 17, 2008 17:21 UTC (Mon) by sepreece (subscriber, #19270)

At the time the suit was announced, there was a lot of discussion (here
and in Groklaw) about whether Verizon actually was subject to GPL terms 
or not - whether they were distributing the software, or simply 
selling/renting boxes that contained software that Actiontec was the
distributor for.

The text of the announcement seems to imply, by omission, that it was
not - no mention was made of Verizon having agreed to do anything 

Actiontec source distribution
Posted Mar 17, 2008 18:58 UTC (Mon) by salvarsan (subscriber, #18257)


Actiontec's compliance started on a Friday two months ago.

Perhaps this late settlement suggests that Actiontec, despite their
eventual compliance, took no responsibility and referred all legal 
action to Verizon.




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