[FSFE PR][EN] FSFE compliance workshop discovers GPL violation by FANTEC, Welte wins in court

press at fsfeurope.org press at fsfeurope.org
Wed Jun 26 09:10:36 CEST 2013

= FSFE compliance workshop discovers GPL violation by FANTEC, Welte wins
in court =

[Read online: http://fsfe.org/news/2013/news-20130626-01.en.html ]

The Regional Court of Hamburg [Landgericht Hamburg] found FANTEC GmbH
guilty of violating the GNU General Public License[1]in their media
player FANTEC 3DFHDL. In the case between Harald Welte versus FANTEC
GmbH the court decided that FANTEC has to pay a penalty fee plus
additional costs for the lawyers, and has to give out the exact
information about their chain of distribution of the FANTEC 3DFHDL Media

FANTEC was using the netfilter/iptables software (firewalling software
for GNU/Linux) in one of the FANTEC 3DFHDL firmwares offered online.
They distributed the firmware without complete corresponding source code
as required by the GNU General Public License, version 2 (GPLv2) that
governs the netfilter/iptables software. Attempts to resolve this issue
failed, after which Harald Welte, one of the copyright holders of
iptables, decided to go to court. The court decided that FANTEC acted
negligently: they would have had to ensure to distribute the software
under the conditions of the GPLv2. The court made explicit that it is
insufficient for FANTEC to rely on the assurance of license compliance
of their suppliers. FANTEC itself is required to ascertain that no
rights of third parties are violated.

  "It is great to see that the court acknowledges the fact that vendors
  themselves are responsible for checking their products for GNU GPL
  compliance. Especially FANTEC, who already had earlier issues with GNU
  GPL compliance, should have known better. This was just laziness,"
  says Harald Welte, founder of gpl-violations.org[2]and plaintiff in
  the case.

The GNU GPL violation was found at a "Hacking for Compliance workshop"
of the Free Software Foundation Europe in May 2012 in Berlin. Several
volunteers helped checking different devices for GNU GPL compliance.
Afterwards the results where forwarded to gpl-violations.org and their
lawyers, who followed up on it.

Although FANTEC denied at first, compliance engineers of FSFE and gpl-
violations.org were able to prove that the software iptables version
1.3.7 was on the device, even though FANTEC did not include the sources
for this program in the provided source code. Besides they showed that
the software was compiled on another date than the offered source code,
proving that the source code offered by FANTEC was outdated.

  "Together with our volunteers we will continue to ensure that users
  receive the freedom to use, study, share, and improve the software on
  their products. These are the basic principles of the Free Software
  community, and every company distributing the software has to comply
  with the respective licenses. Companies obviously see the benefit in
  building upon Free Software, and they should stick to these basic and
  simple rules." says Matthias Kirschner, FSFE's German coordinator and
  one of the organisers of the compliance workshop.

FSFE provides some easy steps[3]to follow to make your product GNU GPL

1. http://www.ifross.org/sites/default/files/130618%20Urteil%20Fantec.pdf
2. http://gpl-violations.org
3. http://fsfe.org/activities/ftf/useful-tips-for-vendors.en.html

The court decision (DE) is available on the IFROSS site (PDF):

Other news related to GNU GPL violation cases:

- 2011-11-10: " Court rejects AVM´s claims opposing third party
  modifications of GPL software".

== About the 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
  participation in a digital society. To secure equal participation in
  the information age, as well as freedom of competition, the Free
  Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) pursues and is dedicated to the
  furthering of Free Software, defined by the freedoms to use, study,
  modify and copy. Founded in 2001, creating awareness for these issues,
  securing Free Software politically and legally, and giving people
  Freedom by supporting development of Free Software are central issues
  of the FSFE.

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