Best Buy, Samsung Named in Copyright Lawsuit

Contributing Writer

The Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) reports that Best Buy and Samsung are just a few consumer electronics companies named in a copyright infringement lawsuit filed today in New York. The SFLC, a non-profit law firm that provides services to Free and Open Source Software developers, represents principal developer Erik Andersen, the Software Freedom Conservancy, and the popular Linux software application, BusyBox.

According to the law firm, the defendants are violating the terms of the GNU General Public License version 2 (GPLv2) by selling products containing BusyBox. The application currently resides in many products including Best Buy's Blu-ray player, Samsung HDTVs, and eighteen additional devices. The problem is that the companies aren't providing the source code to customers as required by the terms of the GPLv2.

Under the terms of the GPLv2, anyone can view, modify, and use the program for free on the condition that they distribute the source code to customers.

Apparently, the law firm contacted all parties and was thus ignored. Bad move. "We try very hard to resolve these types of issues privately with companies, as we always prefer cooperation," said SFLC counsel Aaron Williamson. "We brought this suit as a last resort after each of these defendants ignored us or failed to meaningfully respond to our requests that they release the source code."

The SFLC uploaded the official complaint that can be found here (pdf). The suit was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and will be heard by Judge Shira A. Scheindlin. Ooof!

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