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Gresecurity maker finally coughs up $300k to foot Bruce Perens' legal bill

Accepted submission by requerdanos at 2020-03-29 12:28:36 from the justice-in-action dept.
Digital Liberty

From The Register [theregister.co.uk]:

After three years of legal wrangling, the defamation lawsuit brought by Brad Spengler and his company Open Source Security (OSS) against open-source pioneer Bruce Perens has finally concluded.... Spengler and OSS sued Perens for a June 2017 blog post in which Perens ventured the opinion that grsecurity, Open Source Security's Linux kernel security enhancements, could expose customers to potential liability under the terms of the General Public License (GPL).

OSS says that customers who exercise their rights to redistribute its software under the GPL will no longer receive software updates – the biz wants to be paid for its work, a problem not really addressed by the GPL. Perens, the creator of the open-source definition, pointed out that section six of the GPLv2 prohibits modifications of the license terms.

In December 2017, San Francisco magistrate judge Laurel Beeler determined that Perens had expressed an opinion as allowed under American law and dismissed the defamation claim. Perens then sought to recoup legal expenses under California's Anti-Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) statute, [and] a month later he was awarded more than $526,000 in damages.

Spengler and OSS then appealed, and managed to get the award reduced to about $260,000, but not overturned.... Perens gets nothing personally for his trouble, but his legal team will be paid. O’Melveny & Myers LLP will receive $262,303.62 for the district court litigation (fees and costs) and $2,210.36 for the appeal (costs) while the Electronic Frontier Foundation will be paid $34,474.35 (fees) and $1,011.67 (costs) for its role in the appeal.


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