Lawyers for BusyBox, the open-source Unix utilities popular for use in embedded applications, filed two more copyright infringement lawsuits yesterday, claiming that Bell Microproducts and Super Micro Computer violated terms of the GNU General Public License that governs the software.
“Before filing these lawsuits, we contacted both companies and gave them opportunity to remedy their violations privately, but they were continually unresponsive,” said Aaron Williamson counsel for the Software Freedom Law Center. The SFLC represents BusyBox developers Erik Andersen and Rob Landley. “When companies are contacted by the SFLC or anyone else about a GPL violation, they need to respond by taking good faith steps toward compliance.”
BusyBox is licensed under GPL version 2. The GPL permits free and open reuse and redistribution of licensed source code, provided that all downstream recipients are provided access to the source code. And if they don’t? “ [L]awsuits like this are the predictable consequence,” he said. There have been previous such lawsuits, and all ended up with settlements out of court.
The complaints request that “an injunction be issued against each company and that damages and litigation costs be awarded to the plaintiffs,” the company said in a news release. The lawsuits were filed with the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Bell Microproducts develops and markets high-tech hardware—with an emphasis on storage—for industry and the enterprise. Super Micro is a Silicon Valley maker and marketer of high-performance blade servers for running mission-critical enterprise applications.