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Re: SFLC stipulated dismissal of Comtrend without any settlement


From: Rex Ballard
Subject: Re: SFLC stipulated dismissal of Comtrend without any settlement
Date: Tue, 04 May 2010 16:12:52 -0000
User-agent: G2/1.0

On Apr 7, 1:13 pm, Alexander Terekhov <address@hidden> wrote:
> And no costs against SFLC. Ha, ha.

> "04/06/2010 103  STIPULATION OF DISMISSAL: Plaintiffs Software Freedom
> Conservancy, Inc. and Erik Andersen and Defendant Comtrend Corporation
> hereby stipulate to dismiss defendant Comtrend Corporation from this
> action WITHOUT PREJUDICE, and without costs to any party. Plaintiffs
> maintain this action against all other defendants. (Signed by Judge
> Shira A. Scheindlin on 4/6/2010) (tro) (Entered: 04/07/2010) "

> http://www.terekhov.de/BestBuy-102.pdf

> regards,
> alexander.

This doesn't mean they "lost", in fact, it means they "won".  Keep in
mind that although the lawsuit typically allows the plaintiff to sue
for the entire maximum penalty related to copyright law violation, the
SFLC is actually only requesting that the defendants comply with the
original terms of the copyright license.  Most of the time, when a
lawsuit is filed, the lawyers find out what it would take to make it
go away, and when they are told that all it will take is a link on a
web page they already have, a 1 line change, and they will be in
compliance, the CEO or other key decision maker is usually pretty
willing to "make it so".

On the other hand, if a defendant's lawyers are telling that client
that the copyright license may not be valid, or that there is some
defense and that they shouldn't have to comply with the copyright
until the Judge rules that the license itself is valid, this means
more costs to both sides, and the stakes go up.

Most of the time, the most ethical lawyers just tell the client to
meet the license requirements and publish the link to the source.

Remember, they ONLY have to publish the GNU source code, and any code
compiled into the GPL source. If they use driver modules and standard
modprobe tools, they probably don't have to publish any of their own
code.  If they call the Linux kernel by calling the glibc shared
library, they won't have to publish their application code.  In
effect, they only have to publish the minimal code, and what they do
have to publish wouldn't be sufficient to create a competitor device.

On the flip side, several companies who HAVE published their source
code have found that Linux and OSS developers are quite eager to take
on the challenge of making a router do lots of very interesting
things.  For example, a WiFi or Router with a USB port can be
programmed to support a USB hub, so that the router can also be the
SAN storage controller for up to 6 hard drives.  Netgear came up with
a WiFi hub that had 4 ethernet ports and 2 USB ports.  The Linux
community published patches that let the device work with 2 hubs,
giving it 8 drives pretty easily, and they provided a web driven
iptables interface, making each ethernet port a separate sub-net.  The
"internet" interface was still a NAT, but the other ports could be set
up for various levels of security.

This is one of the reasons why IBM became a big fan of Open Source and
Linux.  They found out that when they contributed just a little, they
got a huge return very quickly.  As one IBM commercial put it "we get
back 4 times what we invest - within 6 months"  (IIRC - Memory is
fuzzy here).


Rex Ballard
http://www.open4success.org


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