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First US GPL case is <em>not</em> settled

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on September 26, 2007 03:37 PM
Monsoon violated the GPL.
Monsoon were notified they were violating the GPL and asked nicely to come into compliance, and Monsoon blew it off and persisted in violating the GPL.
Monsoon were threated with a lawsuit for copyright violation if they did not comply, and they blew off the threat and continued to violate the GPL.
Monsoon deliberately and persistently violated the law and actually got dragged into court, and *now* they want to get let off scott-free, merely by releasing the source they were supposed to release in the first place?? Ah.. NO.

The GPL community is *extremely* generous with inadvertent violators and even insanely generous with deliberate violators. Copyright law carries serious penalties for violation. If you violated Microsoft's or anyone else's code, even inadvertently, the penalties are quite severe. Companies have to know that they need to comply with the law and comply with the GPL in the first place. They have to know that if they deliberately violate the GPL and kicking-and-screaming fight compliance, that they face very serious consequences. The first consequence of copyright violation is a court injunction completely shutting down the company from distributing their violating product at all. The second consequence is that the company gets hit with MASSIVE $$$ damages for copyright infringement, and those $$$ get paid to the person(s) who were violated by the company. It is even possible for the violators to face commercial-piracy criminal prosecution by the government and felony prison.

It's great that the GPL community is so generous in merely asking for compliance, but we have long passed any reasonable definition of generous here. Someone who fights compliance to the point that they have actually already been dragged into a courtroom... at that point you might as well not bother settling at all and just go ahead and convict them on their illegal behavior.

If you don't then *all* companies might as well just violate the GPL by default, and they might as well blow off compliance requests and they might as well blow off lawyer threats and they might as well blow off threats of being dragged into court. They might as well try to get away with violating the GPL hoping not to get caught and if they get caught hoping that the violated party won't have the will or resources to pursue the violation. They might as well *never* comply with the GPL unless and until they actually get dragged into a courtroom, and then turn around and release the code that *they were supposed to release in the first place* and get off scott-free for their violation.


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