SFLC Files First U.S. Lawsuit to Enforce General Public License

Lora Bentley

The Software Freedom Law Center is suing Monsoon Multimedia for infringing the copyright provisions of the GNU General Public License. It's the first U.S. lawsuit to seek enforcement of the open source software license, according to InformationWeek.


SFLC brought the suit on behalf of principal developers of BusyBox, an open source toolkit often used in embedded Linux offerings. It alleges that Monsoon used BusyBox, which is licensed under GPL v2, in its software offerings without releasing its changes to BusyBox to the open source community.


In a statement, plaintiff Erik Anderson said:

We licensed BusyBox under the GPL to give users the freedom to access and modify its source code... [If licensees don't abide by the license] we have no choice but to ask our attorneys to go to court to force them to do so.

It appears that SFLC founder Eben Moglen chose to file suit over BusyBox because it is widely used and well-known. The original version was written by open source evangelist Bruce Perens. And when you know you have a test case on your hands, high profile is not a bad idea.


Model trains may not have much to do with open source, but multimedia sure will. We'll be watching.

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