[FSFE PR][EN] Verdict in the case of AVM vs. Cybits confirmed the view of FSFE

press at fsfeurope.org press at fsfeurope.org
Mon Dec 5 15:59:02 CET 2011

= Verdict in the case of AVM vs. Cybits confirmed the view of FSFE =

[Read Online: http://fsfe.org/news/2011/news-20111201-02.html ]

In the dispute between the companies AVM and Cybits the written
reasoning for the decision of the Regional Court of Berlin is now
available. The court confirmed FSFE's view that users of GNU GPLed
software are allowed to modify and install it even if it is shipped as a
part of an embedded device's firmware.

The court has particularly denied that Cybits has infringed AVM's
copyright by distributing its "Surf-Sitter DSL" software. According to
the judge the AVM DSL router's firmware is a collective work. The GNU
General Public License (GNU GPL) clearly states that the GPL parts
contained in the firmware can be lawfully modified and reproduced. Thus
it is acceptable that these parts are downloaded from AVM and edited
during the installation of the Surf-Sitter software.

The trademark claims were also rejected. The fact that in the router's
interface the trademark "Fritz!Box" is still visible after the
installation of Surf-Sitter does not constitute an infringement.

It also unfolds from the reasoning that a modification of the GNU GPLed
parts of the firmware does not trigger any competition claims. The
Regional Court therefore confirms that it is in general permissible to
modify firmware parts under the GNU GPL and to newly install these
modified versions.

The granting part of the verdict which parallels last year's judgment of
the Superior Court of Justice is mainly based on the idea that the
customers impute wrongly displayed information about the internet
connection and the status of the parental control to AVM. Cybits must
remove this misinformation if they wish to sell their product. In
contrast, modifications of the firmware as such are allowed.

The verdict is not yet final. The parties can still appeal the decision. 

- Written reasoning (DE):

- Detailed background information of the case

- Previous news in this case: 
  - 2011-06-20 - AVM violating license of the Linux kernel
  - 2011-06-22 - FSFE on AVM vs Cybits: A small computer is still a
    computer http://fsfe.org/news/2011/news-20110622-01.en.html
  - LWN Artikel: "ELCE11: Till Jaeger on AVM vs. Cybits" (EN)
  - 2011-11-10 - Court rejects AVM´s claims opposing third party
    modifications of GPL software

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  Matthias Kirschner <press at fsfeurope.org>, Free Software Foundation Europe
  Linienstraße 141, 10115 Berlin
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== gpl-violations.org ==

  The gpl-violations.org project is taking legal and other means to make
  sure commercial users of Free Software are adhering to the GNU General
  Public License.  gpl-violations.org has enforced the GNU GPL in
  hundreds of cases, most of them amicably and out of court.  However,
  if necessary, legal means such as warning notices, preliminary
  injunctions and civil copyright lawsuits are used in order to ensure
  companies are following-up with their obligations under the GNU GPL.
  gpl-violations.org was started by Free Software developer Harald
  Welte, who has received multiple awards in recognition of his legal
  efforts on enforcing the GNU GPL.

== About Free Software Foundation Europe ==

  The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is a non-profit
  non-governmental organisation active in many European countries and
  involved in many global activities. Access to software determines
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