US company, Monsoon Multimedia is being taken to court for violating the terms of the open source NGU General Public License (GPL) of the BusyBox project.
This is the first time this has happened in the US, as previous infringements have been sorted out through correspondence and talking. Having been through this process already and not getting the desired outcome, the SFLC (Software Freedom Law Center) feels there is on option by to pursue it through the US courts.
BusyBox is an application implementing a lightweight set of standard Unix utilities and is of most use for embedded devices. Indeed it’s been call “The Swiss Army Knife of Embedded Linux”.
It’s used because of its low memory requirements and favoured in lots of appliances, many of which are very common, like the Netgear routers, the Nokia 770 and the HP Media Vault.
Licensed under GPLv2, it lets people use the software free of charge, but requires that any changes made to the software must be published – the theory being that those involved will gain from improvements that might be added.
The publishing of the altered code is the desired outcome of the legal action.
Monsoon Multimedia make a range of devices including the Hava, which transfers TV signals anywhere in the world much like the Slingbox.
SFLC and the BusyBox developers, Erki Andersen and Rob Landley, have requested that an injunction be issued against Monsoon Multimedia to recover “damages arising.”