Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Legal

​Linux beats legal threat from one of its own developers

Filed under
Linux
Legal

In a German court earlier this week, former Linux developer Patrick McHardy gave up on his Gnu General Public License version 2 (GPLv2) violation case against Geniatech Europe GmbH. Now, you may ask, "How can a Linux programmer dropping a case against a company that violates the GPL count as a win?"

It's complicated.

First, anyone who knows the least thing about Linux's legal infrastructure knows its licensed under the GPLv2. Many don't know that anyone who has copyrighted code in the Linux kernel can take action against companies that violate the GPLv2. Usually, that's a non-issue.

People who find violations typically turn to organizations such as the Free Software Foundation, Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC), and the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) to approach violators. These organizations then try to convince violating companies to mend their ways and honor their GPLv2 legal requirements. Only as a last resort do they take companies to court to force them into compliance with the GPLv2.

Read more

Black Duck Still FUDing, Licenses and Contracts Debate at FOSDEM

Filed under
Legal
  • Building Open Source Security into DevOps [Ed: The Microsoft-connected liars from Black Duck are still at it]
  • Licenses and contracts

    Some days it seems that wherever two or more free-software enthusiasts gather together, there also shall be licensing discussions. One such, which can get quite heated, is the question of whether a given free-software license is a license, or whether it is really a contract. This distinction is important, because most legal systems treat the two differently. I know from personal experience that that discussion can go on, unresolved, for long periods, but it had not previously occurred to me to wonder whether this might be due to the answer being different in different jurisdictions. Fortunately, it has occurred to some lawyers to wonder just that, and three of them came together at FOSDEM 2018 to present their conclusions.

    The talk was given by Pamela Chestek of Chestek Legal, Andrew Katz of Moorcrofts, and Michaela MacDonald of Queen Mary University of London. Chestek focused on the US legal system, Katz on that of England and Wales, while MacDonald focused on the civil law tradition that is characteristic of many EU member states. The four licenses they chose to consider were the "Modified" or "three-clause" BSD, the Apache License, the GNU General Public License (their presentation was not specific to GPLv3, but the passage they quoted to make a point was from GPLv3), and the Fair License. The first three are among the most common free-software licenses currently in use. The latter is the shortest license the Open Source Initiative has ever approved, and though it is used by hardly any free software, it was included as an example of the maximum possible simplicity in a license.

Top 10 open source legal stories that shook 2017

Filed under
OSS
Legal

Like every year, legal issues were a hot topic in the open source world in 2017. While we're deep into the first quarter of the year, it's still worthwhile to look back at the top legal news in open source last year.

Read more

How to make sense of the Apache 2 patent license

Filed under
Red Hat
OSS
Legal

In essence, when a software developer contributes code to a project (i.e., the Work under the license), he or she becomes a Contributor. Under the above term, Contributors are granting permission to use any of their patents that may read on their contribution. This provides peace of mind to users since the Contributor would likely be prevented from pursuing patent royalties from any users of the software covering that contribution to the project.

Complexities arise when the software developer contributes code that is not claimed by any of the Contributor's patents by itself, but only when combined with the Apache 2.0 licensed open source program to which the contribution was made (i.e., the Work under the license). Thus, the Contributor owning such a patent could pursue patent royalties against a user of that revised Work. The authors of the Apache 2.0 license were forward thinking and account for this scenario. Section 3 states that the license applies to "patent claims licensable by such Contributor that are necessarily infringed... by a combination of their Contribution(s) with the Work to which such Contributions was submitted."

Read more

Bruce Perens Suffers for Copyleft Defense, Microsoft Still Openwashing

Filed under
Legal

Free Electrons becomes Bootlin (After Trademark Bullying/Trolling by FREE SAS)

Filed under
Linux
Legal

The services we offer are different, we target a different audience (professionals instead of individuals), and most of our communication efforts are in English, to reach an international audience. Therefore Michael Opdenacker and Free Electrons’ management believe that there is no risk of confusion between Free Electrons and FREE SAS. However, FREE SAS has filed in excess of 100 oppositions and District Court actions against trademarks or name containing “free”. In view of the resources needed to fight this case, Free Electrons has decided to change name without waiting for the decision of the District Court. This will allow us to stay focused on our projects rather than exhausting ourselves fighting a long legal battle.

[...]

Nothing else changes in the company. We are the same engineers, the same Linux kernel contributors and maintainers (now 6 of us have their names in the Linux MAINTAINERS file), with the same technical skills and appetite for new technical challenges.

More than ever, we remain united by the passion we all share in the company since the beginning: working with hardware and low-level software, working together with the free software community, and sharing the experience with others so that they can at least get the best of what the community offers and hopefully one day become active contributors too. “Get the best of the community” is effectively one of our slogans.

Read more

Open-source civil war: Olive branch offered in trademark spat... with live grenade attached

Filed under
GNU
Legal

A few days before the Christmas holiday, the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) made a peace offering of sorts in an ostensible effort to resolve its trademark dispute with the Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC).

In September last year, SFLC sued the SFC claiming that the SFC trademark "Software Freedom Conservancy" is confusingly similar to the SFLC's "Software Freedom Law Center" trademark.

The SFLC was formed in 2005 to provide legal services for open-source projects. And in 2006, it helped set up the SFC, so it could provide infrastructure support – including legal services – for open-source developers.

That shared history and similarity of purpose has made the intellectual property dispute between two organizations rather confusing to folks in the open source community.

Read more

Multiple-guess quiz will make Brit fliers safer, hopes drone-maker DJI

Filed under
GNU
Security
Legal

Meanwhile, security researcher Jon Sawyer has published a root exploit for DJI drones called DUMLRacer. It would appear to allow the technically competent dronie to completely ignore DJI's height and location restrictions, which form a large part of its please-don't-regulate-us-out-of-existence offering to governments around the world.

In his tweet announcing the release, Sawyer said: "Dear DJI, next time I ask for some GPL source code, maybe don't tell me no."

At the heart of DJI's software is GNU General Public Licensed (open source) code. While the firm does publish some of its source code, as previously reported, the company is not exactly clear about what elements of its drones' firmware are based on GPL-licensed code. The GPL contains a provision stating that anyone can modify GPL-licensed code provided that the source of any publicly available modded version is also made public, as the GPL FAQ makes clear.

Read more

Grsecurity SLAPP Case Defeated

Filed under
GNU
Security
Legal
  • Kernel hardening group's suit against open source advocate thrown out

    A judge in San Francisco has granted a motion by noted open source advocate Bruce Perens to dismiss a defamation suit filed against him by Grsecurity, a group that supplies a patch for hardening the Linux kernel.

    Magistrate judge Laurel Beeler agreed to Perens' (right, below) motion on Thursday but denied his bid to invoke the anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) law in California.

    This law deals with legal complaints that are directed at stopping public discussion and free speech. California put in place an anti-SLAPP law in 1992.

  • Court Throws Out Libel Lawsuit Brought by Open Source Security

    The defendant Bruce Perens -- who is a respected programmer known for his founding of the Open Source Initiative -- criticized OSS's business model for distributing its security patches on the ground that it violated the open-source license and thus potentially subjected users to liability for copyright infringement or breach of contract. The plaintiffs [sued, basically for defamation -EV]....

Conservancy: How and Why We Should Settle

Filed under
Legal

Yesterday marks three years that I have been trying to negotiate a peaceful settlement with my ex-employees, Karen Sandler and Bradley Kuhn, of various complaints SFLC and I have about the way they treat us. After all this time when they would not even meet with us to discuss our issues, the involvement of the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board in one aspect of the matter has at least created a space for structured discussion. Intermediaries both organizations work with and trust have generously taken the opportunity to communicate our settlement proposals, and we have initiated discussion through counsel. As transparency is, indeed, a valued commitment in the free software world, we think it is now time to publish our offer:

We propose a general peace, releasing all claims that the parties have against one another, in return for an iron-clad agreement for mutual non-disparagement, binding all the organizations and individuals involved, with strong safeguards against breach. SFLC will offer, as part of such an overall agreement, a perpetual, royalty-free trademark license for the Software Freedom Conservancy to keep and use its present name, subject to agreed measures to prevent confusion, and continued observance of the non-disparagement agreement.

Read more

Also: Conservancy's Executive Director Delivers Keynote Address at Swatantra '17

Syndicate content

More in Tux Machines

An introduction to the GNU Core Utilities

These two collections of Linux utilities, the GNU Core Utilities and util-linux, together provide the basic utilities required to administer a Linux system. As I researched this article, I found several interesting utilities I never knew about. Many of these commands are seldom needed, but when you need them, they are indispensable. Between these two collections, there are over 200 Linux utilities. While Linux has many more commands, these are the ones needed to manage the basic functions of a typical Linux host. Read more

Today in Techrights

today's howtos

Open Hardware/RISC-V Latest

  • Brains behind seL4 secure microkernel begin RISC-V chip port
    Last week, the first RISC-V port of its seL4 microkernel was released by the Data61 division of the Australian government's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). seL4 is an open-source and highly secure version of the L4 microkernel that aims to be mathematically proven to be bug free, in that it works as expected as per its specifications. Meanwhile, RISC-V is an open-source instruction-set architecture, and is used as the blueprint for various open-source processor core designs – some of which are now shipping as real usable silicon, such as chips from SiFive and Greenwaves.
  • Dongwoon Anatech Licenses Codasip's Bk3 RISC-V Processor for Motor Control ICs for Mobile Camera
    Codasip, the leading supplier of RISC-V® embedded processor IP, announced today that Dongwoon Anatech, a technology leader in analog and power ICs for mobile phones, has selected Codasip’s Bk3 processor and Studio design tool for its next generation family of motor control IC products. Dongwoon Anatech, fabless analog semiconductor specialist, offers a wide range of analog products, including auto-focus driver IC for smartphones, AMOLED DC-DC converter, display power driver IC, and haptic driver IC.