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[Discuss] OSS licenses (was Home NAS redux)

On 01/10/2013 09:41 AM, Edward Ned Harvey (blu) wrote:
>> From: John Abreau [mailto:abreauj at]
>> Another silly claim. The FSF cannot sue Joe on behalf of the copyright holder.
>> The FSF can only sue if the copyright was assigned to the FSF.
>> The FSF would not be entitled to sue Joe Schmoe unless Joe Schmoe violated
>> the license on something for which the FSF held the copyright.
> busybox is not copyrighted to the FSF.  Its individual files are copyrighted to a zillion different individuals.
> But it looks like I did make one mistake:  It wasn't the FSF, it was the SFLC, Software Freedom Law Center, who filed lawsuit on behalf of two guys, who contributed to busybox development.  But the people who originated busybox were not represented, nor benefitted from the settlements.
> So it seems, if you want to sue somebody on behalf of somebody else's open source software, you just need contribute to it (or fork it and then contribute to it), and find some way that a recipient was in violation of the license terms.
The bottom line for a civil suit is damages. So, if you have suffered
some damages whether you break a leg on someone's property or someone
misuses your copyright, you are damaged. The FSF or

SFLC can initiate a lawsuit but only if there are damages, so SFLC finds those who may be damaged to become party to the suit. The FSF sued Cisco in 2008 using SFLC as their attorney.


Jerry Feldman <gaf at>
Boston Linux and Unix
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