A digital video is being sued for failing to adhere to the terms of an open-source licence. Monsoon Multimedia The Software Freedom Law Center has filed against Monsoon Multimedia, in what is believed to be the first case of its type in the US.
The SFLC filed the suit on Wednesday on behalf of the developers of BusyBox, Erik Andersen and Rob Landley. The suit charges Monsoon with using BusyBox under the GNU General Public License version 2 but failing to publish its source code. Under the terms of the licence, distributors of software that uses the licensed software must make their source code available. Failing to do so is considered copyright infringement.
BusyBox, members of the public and the SFLC legal team notified Monsoon of its responsibilities, but Monsoon has not yet published the code, said Dan Ravicher, legal director at SFLC. While it's relatively common for licensees to neglect to share their code, parties typically work through the issue without having to go to court, he said.
This case is a last resort after Monsoon failed to rectify the situation, he said. The suit is necessary because from a legal perspective, copyright owners can start to lose rights if they don't act to protect them, he said.
BusyBox is a lightweight set of Unix utilities used in embedded systems. Monsoon develops digital video products, including a Slingbox-like device that enables remote TV viewing. If BusyBox prevails in the case, under copyright law the company is entitled to damages, an injunction prohibiting continued infringement and court costs, Ravicher said.
The GPL Violations Project is a group that actively pursues licence violators and has brought at least one case to court in Germany. Earlier this year, one of the project's team members publicly revealed violations that Cisco Systems made in its phone previously called the iPhone. Cisco subsequently corrected the problem.
Monsoon did not reply to a request for comment.