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posted by Fnord666 on Sunday February 16 2020, @02:22PM   Printer-friendly
from the no-way-out dept.

The head of security firm Open Source Security, Brad Spengler, says he had little option but to file a lawsuit against open source advocate Bruce Perens, who alleged back in 2017 that security patches issued for the Linux kernel by OSS violated the licence under which the kernel is distributed.

The case ended last week with Perens coming out on the right side of things; after some back and forth, a court doubled down on its earlier decision that OSS must pay Perens' legal costs as awarded in June 2018.

The remainder of the article is an interview with Brad Spengler about the case and the issue.

iTWire contacted Spengler soon after the case ended, as he had promised to speak at length about the issue once all legal issues were done and dusted. Queries submitted by iTWire along with Spengler's answers in full are given below:

Court Orders Payment of $259,900.50 to Bruce Perens' Attorneys

Original Submission

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 17 2020, @09:34AM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 17 2020, @09:34AM (#959093)

    >You didn't, because you wanted to take from the commons of GPL stuff while not giving back, which is what the GPL was specifically designed to prevent. Or, if all else fails, you also had the option of shutting down your business and doing something else with your life.

    The GPL is completely toothless. No one ever sues anyone to enforce it.
    Spengler knows he isn't going to get sued, because an enforcement action in federal court would cost about $600,000 in legal fees for the plantiff to bring the enforcement suit.
    Yes, Spengler is BLATANTLY violating section 6 of version 2 of the GPL.
    He is violating the copyright on the linux kernel, he and his employees (Mathias Krause) are violating the copyright on GCC, with their plugins (assuming these are non-seperable works (which is RMS's view)).
    But he KNOWS he will not get sued.

    Also they have made over 1000 dollars off of this direct infringement, so they are also criminally liable.
    But he is confident he won't be prosecuted either.

    Because no one ever enforces it.
    It won't change until he is sued, like Cisco was sued. But the FSF threw out RMS so what likelyhood is there of that?

  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday February 17 2020, @10:06PM

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 17 2020, @10:06PM (#959314) Journal

    The GPL is completely toothless. No one ever sues anyone to enforce it.

    Which only serves to illustrate your ignorance on the matter. For example, this story []mentions two such lawsuits. I found several more lawsuits mentioned in a cursory search [].

    But he KNOWS he will not get sued.

    We'll see what comes of this. He's already lost at least a quarter of a million dollars (plus his own legal fees) on legal games. It might not come to a lawsuit, unless he feels he hasn't lost enough money yet.

    It won't change until he is sued, like Cisco was sued.

    Like here []? So you know of a lawsuit that was decided in favor of the GPL, and you still posted all that? I find it bizarre that you can make these absolute claims when you already know of counterexamples.

  • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Monday February 17 2020, @11:31PM

    by Immerman (3985) on Monday February 17 2020, @11:31PM (#959348)

    >The GPL is completely toothless. No one ever sues anyone to enforce it.

    Actually they do, but not often, because they don't have to.

    In almost every case, when someone is informed that they are violating the GPL and need to get into compliance they very rapidly do so. For the simple reason that the moment they ask their lawyers about it, they're informed that they have absolutely no leg to stand on. Without the GPL, they have no license to redistribute the code, and are in clear violation of copyright law with all the extreme fines and prison terms that makes them vulnerable to. Full compliance with the license is the *only* thing protecting them from blatant copyright infringement charges. And from the moment their violation is pointed out to them, all further distribution becomes willful infringement, and susceptible to enhanced damages. Not hard to find a lawyer that will work on consignment when the case is that clear cut, and the penalties that high.