SFLC: Setting Legal Precedent Not the Goal of GPL Case

Lora Bentley

Software Freedom Law Center co-founder Dan Ravicher says the Center's copyright infringement case against Monsoon Multimedia on behalf of the creators of BusyBox is not about setting legal precedent for the use and interpretation of the GNU General Public License. Ravicher tells News.com:

Our client's goal was not to get a GPL decision from a court. Our client's goal was to get people to abide by the terms of the license.

And the fact that Monsoon has agreed to comply with the license's terms since the suit was filed isn't enough for Ravicher. That implies violators can do whatever they want until they're caught. In his words:

If you start getting a reputation for being a pansy, then people are going to conclude they don't have to do anything.

But as writer Stephen Shankland points out, the case will set legal precedent, particularly because it's the first of its kind in the U.S. And Hunton & Williams attorney James Harvey, who is not involved in the GPL case, predicts it will be the first of many. He is quoted as follows:

...[T]here will be more of these lawsuits. A lot more will become known with respect to the licenses and the way they're to be used by the development of case law. It's not a great system but it's the one we've got.

News.com says the official response from Monsoon so far has been a statement from its COO that the company is "confident the matter will be resolved quickly."

Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Oct 2, 2007 1:22 AM Jonathan Jonathan  says:
[Disclosure: I'm Maryanovsky's attorney]This is not the first case. This might be the first US case, but definitely not the first.please check The lawsuit page for the Maryanovsky v. Rabinovich case in Israel. Reply

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