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German Court convicted Skype of violating the GPL

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German district court Munich has convicted Skype of violating the GPL. One of the VoIP telephones sold by Skype run Linux, but the GPL text was not handed out together with the phone, although the GPL requires that.

The telephone is actually build and delivered by SMC Networks. But without the GPL text. Harald Welte, the founder of who helds copyright in parts of the Linux kernel, asked the company to correct that problem, but they only included a sheet of paper with a set of links, and that isn’t enough.

Hence Harald Welte took legal action with the help of the German Institut für Rechtsfragen der Freien und Open Source Software (roughly translated Institute for questions of law in case of Free and Open Source Software) - and won the process (German only). Skype now has to deliver the licence text with each telephone.

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