THE FREE SOFTWARE defenders at the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) have won a General Public License (GPL) violation lawsuit in the US.
The Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) is associated with the SFLC and is made up of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) projects. The group sued Best Buy and more than a dozen other companies over GPL violations related to the use of the Busybox utilities software in high definition television systems. One of the defendant companies, Westinghouse Digital Technologies, LLC, failed to answer the complaint and apparently took refuge in receivership.
The US federal court in the Southern District of New York agreed with the SFC and granted a default judgment for willful copyright infringement in its favour for an injunction, treble damages of $90,000 and an award of attorneys fees and costs of $47,685.
This is the first time a federal court in the US has ruled in favour of enforcement and granted an injunction against a GPL violation. The court issued a cease and desist order against further distribution of the infringing products and ordered Westinghouse to surrender them to the plaintiffs. The HDTVs seized by the court apparently will be donated to charities.
The court victory bodes well for the plaintiffs, their lawyers at the SFLC and enforcement of the GPL. The organisation proactively provides GPL enforcement services for its members and their collective projects.
The lawsuit is still in progress against 13 other GPL violation defendants. These include some other small US companies but also some big names like Samsung, JVC and Best Buy. µ
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