Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 15th Dec 2009 20:51 UTC
GNU, GPL, Open Source Yesterday, we reported that the Software Freedom Law Center had started a lawsuit against several companies who they claim violated the GPL. The subject of the violation was BusBox, and the SFLC claims it is operating on behalf of the authors of BusyBox. Original BusyBox author Bruce Perens, however, begs to differ.
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Since I'm not entirely sure what the details are of this "Copyright replacement" scheme that Perens alludes to, I have to assume it goes something like this:

1) Find a module with an author we don't want any more
2) Rewrite said module, changing some percentage of the code
3) Remove previous author's name, replace with our own.

If this was done methodically, with the intention of removing the original author, that's just plain nasty.

It's one thing to rewrite a module to be cleaner code, more efficient, follow a better coding style, etc. - but to intentionally remove the previous author is of questionable ethic. The original author went through all the trouble of defining the behavior and logic, restating the same code with your own style/method doesn't make the original author's work any less important.

Note: I have no clue if this does/doesn't stand up in court, nor whether this is what actually took place - it's just my speculation.

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