Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 24th Sep 2007 17:35 UTC, submitted by Rahul
Legal Monsoon Multimedia, which was subjected to the first US lawsuit on non-compliance with the GPL, has published a press release in which they agree to make any modifications public and thereby complying to the requirements stipulated in the GPL license. "Monsoon Multimedia today announced efforts to fully comply with the GPL. Monsoon is in settlement negotiations with BusyBox to resolve the matter and intends to fully comply with all open-source software license requirements. Monsoon will make modified BusyBox source code publicly available on the company web-site in the coming weeks."
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Doesn't sound bad enough...
by monodeldiablo on Mon 24th Sep 2007 18:04 UTC
monodeldiablo
Member since:
2005-07-06

If the MPAA, RIAA and BSA have taught us anything, it's the power of proper phrasing. Instead of "GPL non-compliance", might I suggest "corporate piracy"? "Intellectual property theft"? "Predatory distribution"?

Reply Score: 11

JonathanBThompson Member since:
2006-05-26

They're using the same sort of relatively benign phrasing that most newscasts in the US use to refer to terrorists blowing themselves up with bombs in a crowd of people to murder them, calling them "suicide bombers" instead of what would more correctly signal their intent, "homicide bombers" because after all, the primary mission doesn't seem to be that of committing suicide, but that of killing infidels.

And let's face it, the licensing fights and development ideologies cause quite a few people to become zealots and fanatics to a similar degree as a lot of religions, with people doing things merely because they fit in with an ideology, and not so much because they're actually "good" in promoting desired outcomes.

I think these days many people are just too afraid to be politically-incorrect in their speech and writing, for fear of offending someone and perhaps getting sued. I'm not a pro-GPL zealot, and I'm not 100% against it, as it does have its place, but I can and will respect the rights of those that wish to use that licensing, and for that, I agree, it should be referred to as "piracy" of some sort.

Reply Score: 1

MamiyaOtaru Member since:
2005-11-11

"Since we intend to and always intended to comply with all open source software license requirements, we are confident that the matter will be
quickly resolved ...
"

If this is the case, how come it came to a lawsuit? Hopefully we can chalk their initial lack of response up to intercontinental communication issues, but why weren't they complying with the license in the first place? Oh well, this seems to be settling out amicably at least ;)

and in reply to the above,
"Homicide bomber" isn't a phrase I like at all. It's redundant. Bombing is about killing people. The thing that separates the stereotypical cafe-bombing terrorist's technique from that of someone in a bomber plane is that the terrorist is committing suicide.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Doesn't sound bad enough...
by AdamW on Mon 24th Sep 2007 19:04 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Doesn't sound bad enough..."
AdamW Member since:
2005-07-06

ridiculously off-topic, but:

""Homicide bomber" isn't a phrase I like at all. It's redundant. Bombing is about killing people."

not necessarily. Many of, for instance, the IRA's bombing campaigns were not intended to kill people (they provided warnings reasonably far in advance of the explosions, which they obviously would not have done if they were trying to kill people). they were about causing disruption, achieving public profile, and reminding people of the *possibility* that the bombs could be used to kill.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Doesn't sound bad enough...
by DigitalAxis on Tue 25th Sep 2007 01:22 UTC in reply to "Doesn't sound bad enough..."
DigitalAxis Member since:
2005-08-28

Perhaps because the intent here was to merely get them to comply with the GPL, not tar and feather them and drag their name through the mud?

The MPAA, RIAA, and BSA are fully in attack mode on these things; I suspect the SFLC has no problem with Monsoon Multimedia as long as they follow the rules. There's a difference between wanting compliance and wanting punishment.

Reply Score: 4

Pwned!
by bryanv on Mon 24th Sep 2007 18:59 UTC
bryanv
Member since:
2005-08-26

Huzzah!

Good news, all around.

Reply Score: 1

Compliance
by elsewhere on Mon 24th Sep 2007 19:07 UTC
elsewhere
Member since:
2005-07-13

From my understanding, the GPL doesn't actually require you to make your source/changes public. They do require only to make your source/changes available to the people you're distributing the GPL-licensed product to upon request. Granted, any one of those people is then free to post the source themselves anywhere they want, but the obligation isn't on the distributor of the source to do so.

So in this case, Monsoon isn't necessarily obligated to make the source available on the website, but should be prepared to provide the source to any customer purchasing the infringing product at the customer's request.

I suspect many commercial products using GPL-protected code probably do so under the assumption that people won't actually care enough to request the code, unless they've done something mind-bendingly cool with it. Monsoon was probably under this assumption, so this should serve as a lesson to other manufacturers to be prepared to make the code available upon request, instead of hoping that no one will ask, or that they'll be willing to walk away empty handed.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Compliance
by daddio on Mon 24th Sep 2007 19:15 UTC in reply to "Compliance"
daddio Member since:
2007-07-14

Monsoon DIDN'T distribute the code to their customers so the only way for them to comply was to make it available for download.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Compliance
by lemur2 on Wed 26th Sep 2007 06:04 UTC in reply to "RE: Compliance"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Monsoon DIDN'T distribute the code to their customers so the only way for them to comply was to make it available for download.


Not at all.

Firstly, the GPL does not require you to distribute the code to all your customers ... what it actually requires is that you make the source code available to anyone who asks for it (customers or not).

All that was required of Monsoon is to have provided the source code to the people who did ask for it.

Monsoon could have done that by making it available for download from a website, but just as easily Monsoon could have posted a CD with the source on it back to the few people who asked for it.

Reply Score: 3

"ANY THIRD PARTY"
by bsdimp on Mon 24th Sep 2007 19:26 UTC
bsdimp
Member since:
2007-02-23

The GPL specifically states that you must either ship your modified source with the product (well, with the object, to be pedantic), or you must provide a written offer, valid for any third party, to obtain the code.

What is *NOT* acceptable is to say 'you can get it from the standard places' unless you've made arrangements with the standard places to keep it archived for 3 years. There's a lot of companies trying to skate under this clause as well, but that's a whole different kettle of fish.

It is fear against exactly this kind of lawsuit and bad publicity that has caused a former employer to base their products on FreeBSD and to eliminate all GPL'd software from the flash image that goes inside their products. That company did dozens of releases a year, and making sure every last bit of GPL'd source was released and archived properly for 3 years was considered more effort than simply eliminating all GPL software.

The one bad thing about the settlement, assuming there will be one, is that there's no legal precedent set by it, so the world still doesn't know if the GPL is valid in the US, or the extent to which it can be enforced. All we still have are legal theories, although quite good, that haven't been tested in a court of law in the US.

Reply Score: 1

RE: "ANY THIRD PARTY"
by SEJeff on Mon 24th Sep 2007 20:15 UTC in reply to ""ANY THIRD PARTY""
SEJeff Member since:
2005-11-05

Actually, you are a bit wrong. You only have to provided code to people you distribute the software to. As in if you don't pay for my product, I don't have to give you a copy of the gpl code on it even if you ask.

Most companies distribute the code to everyone in good faith, but the gpl does not require it.


Edit:
Clear up a disambiguation

Edited 2007-09-24 20:15

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: "ANY THIRD PARTY"
by bsdimp on Mon 24th Sep 2007 20:34 UTC in reply to "RE: "ANY THIRD PARTY""
bsdimp Member since:
2007-02-23

You are almost right.

If you distribute the source with the binaries, then you have no obligations to third parties. This is section 3(a) compliance.

If you do not distribute the source with binaries, then you must make available to any third party the source. Or quoting directly from the GPLv2, section 3(b):

b) Accompany it with a written offer, valid for at least three years, to give any third party, for a charge no more than your cost of physically performing source distribution, a complete machine-readable copy of the corresponding source code, to be distributed under the terms of Sections 1 and 2 above on a medium customarily used for software interchange; or,


(emphasis added). I'm unsure how you can conclude that this applies only to your customers. To me the plain language says what it means. Any means any.

section 3(c) compliance doesn't matter for this case, since this would clearly be commercial, and 3(c) is available only for non-commercial distribution.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: "ANY THIRD PARTY"
by dylansmrjones on Mon 24th Sep 2007 21:28 UTC in reply to "RE: "ANY THIRD PARTY""
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

As in if you don't pay for my product, I don't have to give you a copy of the gpl code on it even if you ask.


Actually, that is wrong. Even if I don't pay for your binary product I'm still entitled to receive the source code. But you are of course free to charge me as you see fit.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: "ANY THIRD PARTY"
by dylansmrjones on Mon 24th Sep 2007 22:31 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: "ANY THIRD PARTY""
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Woot... another post modded down.

Why? Is it offensive? Or off-topic? Or spamming for a product?

3 x No. Is my post factually wrong? No.

So who are you, that group who's been modding me down since my spat with cyclops?

Reply Score: 0

v RE[4]: "ANY THIRD PARTY"
by __xodam__ on Mon 24th Sep 2007 22:41 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: "ANY THIRD PARTY""
RE[5]: "ANY THIRD PARTY"
by dylansmrjones on Mon 24th Sep 2007 23:04 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: "ANY THIRD PARTY""
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

That's what I call silly reasoning.

The system is based on people making sensible decisions. Saying the system doesn't work is equal to saying you don't make sensible decisions.

It would work flawlessly if people didn't do what you just claimed you did ;) - look at it as the task of the individual in a free fellowship.

Reply Score: 1

v RE[6]: "ANY THIRD PARTY"
by __xodam__ on Mon 24th Sep 2007 23:18 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: "ANY THIRD PARTY""
RE[7]: "ANY THIRD PARTY"
by dylansmrjones on Tue 25th Sep 2007 00:05 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: "ANY THIRD PARTY""
dylansmrjones Member since:
2005-10-02

Of course everybody has the right to arm themselves and take matters into their own hands. It's actually a right in all democracies. There are limitations on when one can do it, but there are situations where it is illegal not to take the law into your own hand. At least in Denmark.

Democracy is built upon the People taking matters into its own hands.

Woow.. off-topic ;)

Anyway, I disagree. Just because somebody can't handle the responsibility doesn't mean nobody can. Just ban the abusers of the voting system.

Reply Score: 0

RE[4]: "ANY THIRD PARTY"
by SEJeff on Tue 25th Sep 2007 03:11 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: "ANY THIRD PARTY""
SEJeff Member since:
2005-11-05

I just modded both of your posts up for pointing out where I was wrong. My misunderstanding was incorrect.

Must have mixed that up somehow with the web app loophole in the gpl. My bad.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: "ANY THIRD PARTY"
by Ford Prefect on Tue 25th Sep 2007 18:41 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: "ANY THIRD PARTY""
Ford Prefect Member since:
2006-01-16

No, not right. You have no right to receive anything, even if you are the issuer of the license.

The GPL only states that distribution of the (modified) software is not allowed if the licensee doesn't obey certain rules, like distributing it under the GPL and giving the source code.

Reply Score: 2

Sad
by binarycrusader on Mon 24th Sep 2007 19:32 UTC
binarycrusader
Member since:
2005-07-06

In a way, this is sad, seeing the GPL tested in US court would have brought further credibility. Settlements, while good, don't prove anything legally.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Sad
by shykid on Mon 24th Sep 2007 19:54 UTC in reply to "Sad"
shykid Member since:
2007-02-22

In a way, this is sad, seeing the GPL tested in US court would have brought further credibility. Settlements, while good, don't prove anything legally.

That's what I thought when I read this, too.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Sad
by apoclypse on Mon 24th Sep 2007 20:03 UTC in reply to "RE: Sad"
apoclypse Member since:
2007-02-17

At the same time it would be catastrophic if it failed in court.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Sad
by lemur2 on Tue 25th Sep 2007 00:07 UTC in reply to "Sad"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

In a way, this is sad, seeing the GPL tested in US court would have brought further credibility. Settlements, while good, don't prove anything legally.


I'd look at this the other way. The GPL is shown to have some force behind it. The outcome demonstrates that the GPL is not viral in that Monsoon don't have to reveal all the code in their hava device but rather only the source code for BusyBox. Monsoon get to continue selling their device, demonstrating the GPL software CAN be used happily in commercial devices, so that the GPL is shown to be in no way anti-business.

All in all, IMO a very good outcome in terms of dispelling anti-GPL FUD, and exactly the amicable outcome that is actually desired by software developers when people write GPL code in the first place.

Edited 2007-09-25 00:12

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Sad
by binarycrusader on Tue 25th Sep 2007 01:07 UTC in reply to "RE: Sad"
binarycrusader Member since:
2005-07-06

I'd look at this the other way. The GPL is shown to have some force behind it.


That's an optimistic view.

I still look at this as the GPL not being proven.

All it will take is someone figuring out a possible loophole, or someone with an axe to grind and we might all be in trouble.

I would feel far more confident in a proven license than one that people were simply afraid of.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Sad
by felipec on Tue 25th Sep 2007 12:41 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Sad"
felipec Member since:
2007-09-25

Who is saying they where afraid of it?

Maybe they compared the cost of litigation vs providing the source code. It's not like they will have lots of intellectual property on Busybox, right? Probably they didn't even modify Busybox at all.

Reply Score: 1

huh
by meandean on Mon 24th Sep 2007 20:57 UTC
meandean
Member since:
2007-09-02

in the coming weeks

weeks??? still dragging along IMO!

To comply would mean you provide source at the same time....not later. Might as well say, we intend to not comply for the next few weeks...

Edited 2007-09-24 20:57

Reply Score: 1

press release as ads
by zimbatm on Mon 24th Sep 2007 21:02 UTC
zimbatm
Member since:
2005-08-22

The press release sounds more like ads to me.

Reply Score: 1

heels never left the floor
by stestagg on Tue 25th Sep 2007 09:13 UTC
stestagg
Member since:
2006-06-03

I read the forums about this one before, they've been claiming that they will have the source available since early August. Their position hasn't changed since then, neither has the availability of the source code. I suggest that the Busybox people continue with the suit untill something actually is provided.

Reply Score: 3

Monsoon Multimedia responds on GPL
by lemur2 on Wed 26th Sep 2007 23:43 UTC
lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

http://lwn.net/Articles/251535/

http://myhava.com/press_releases_monsoon_open_source.html

Monsoon is in settlement negotiations with BusyBox to resolve the matter and intends to fully comply with all open-source software license requirements. Monsoon will make modified BusyBox source code publicly available on the company web-site at www.myhava.com in the coming weeks.


... the statement even comes with an apology.

Good outcome, IMO. Monsoon gets to continue with making and selling its product. The open source code stays open. The GPL is shown to work properly, as intended. Everybody (well, almost everybody) is happy.

Reply Score: 3