GPL lawsuit in Germany

Georg C. F. Greve greve at
Fri Jan 25 11:29:18 UTC 2002

Hi Joerg,

 || On Thu, 24 Jan 2002 23:17:44 +0100 (MET)
 || Joerg Schilling <schilling at> wrote: 

 js> He told me that GPL cannot be enforced in Germany.

He is wrong.

 js> My questions:

 js> -	Has there been ever a GPL lawsiut?

Until today all problems have been solved without having to go to

Our goal is to make people comply, not to sue someone or drive them
out of business. That is why we try to talk to people first and
explain to them what they did wrong without creating too much public
pressure, as this would make them "lose face" when they change their
policy. If they modify their behaviour to comply with the terms of the
license, we've reached our goal.

If they are uncooperative, the next step is to make their behaviour
public. This has happened a few times in the past and every time they
public pressure was enough to force them back into compliance.

The last step would be to go to court. This has never been necessary
so far. It seems even companies with big legal departments believe
they might not be able to win a case against the GPL.

 js> - Is FSFeurope willing and able to help me and my lawyer?

This is the first I hear about it. It might have been a good idea to
contact us directly first and explain to us what is going on.

We're willing and able to help with these issues, but how much we can
do depends on the situation that I essentially know nothing about at
the moment. 

For software that we have no rights in, our legal representative
powers are limited by law and also providing extensive legal backing
for all Free Software projects in Europe would go beyond our financial
resources, but there are things we can do to support you.

At the least, we can hook you up with a lawyer who understands Free
Software and knows how to defend it.

The right address to approach in such a case would be team at 
or (in this case) germany at 

If you give us information about what is going on, we'll see what we
can do for you.


Georg C. F. Greve                                 <greve at>
Free Software Foundation Europe	                 (
GNU Business Network                        (
Brave GNU World	                           (
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