After the filing of the Verizon / BusyBox suit, and after reading about any number of other, similar incidents where a company showed what could only be seen as flagrant disregard for the GPL, I had to ask myself: Why do people do this? Are companies really that naive about the GPL, or do they just think they can get away with anything?

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greengrass's picture
Created by greengrass 14 years 19 weeks ago – Made popular 14 years 19 weeks ago
Category: Business   Tags:
kiba's picture


14 years 19 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago


They're scared of the GPL or

They're scared of the GPL or otherwise they would go to court thinking that they will win.

Also you have to recognize that some of them are very big. I doubt the executives are aware of everything that goes on in their company.

Don't assume malice when ignorance can be easily substituted.

motters's picture


14 years 19 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago


Another possibility

There's also another possibility - that the company and its employees are well aware of GPL and what it means, but are taking a calculated risk that the original authors will not bring the case to court. A completely cynical company director might figure that the typical lifetime of a piece of software is around five years, and that if it takes that long (or longer) for a court case to be brought then even if they're sued at the end of it they may still have made a profit.

I can imagine a situation where I find that some big company has turned my GPL'd software into backspaceware (i.e. deleted the license and author and inserted their own). Although I might be annoyed it's unlikely that I'd have the financial resources to fight a prolonged case in court.

kiba's picture


14 years 19 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago


You can count on the

You can count on the software freedom law center to fight your case for you pro bono.

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