Just because a piece of code is released under the GNU General Public License doesn’t mean that users can do whatever they want with it. Quite the opposite, actually, as a number of big-name companies have discovered — with Westinghouse becoming the most recent.
Indeed, the Software Freedom Conservancy and the Software Freedom Law Center has gone to the mattresses several times over enforcing the terms of the GPL. That’s resulted in all but one of the Conservancy’s 14 lawsuits against consumer electronics companies ending or moving toward a positive outcome for developers of GPL-protected code. LinuxPlanet has the story.
In December 2009, the Software Freedom Conservancy filed lawsuits against 14 consumer electronics vendors alleging that they were not in compliance with the GPL license. Of those 14 vendors, 13 have now either settled amicably or are in productive discussions toward a settlement.
In one case, consumer electronics vendor Westinghouse failed to comply, and a U.S. District Court has now ruled in a default judgment against it.