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VMware heads to court over GPL violations

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Legal

The Software Freedom Conservancy alleges that VMware is using GPL-licensed code in its proprietary products

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BREAKING NEWS: UK Government issues statement on EPO

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Legal

On behalf of Merpel and all the readers of this weblog, the IPKat wishes to thank the IPO for what, he believes, is the first public response of any national office to the current unrest. He also thanks the IPO for its willingness to answer questions from those concerned about the present situation and what he hopes will be its future resolution.

It is very much hoped that other national offices will express their willingness to do the same, whether through the medium of this weblog or through channels more appropriate to the nations concerned.

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Also: The EPO: privileged and immune says the President

Samsung, OpenChain Aim to Build Trust With Open Source Compliance

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OSS
Legal

Samsung is a top-five contributor to the Linux kernel and contributes upstream to more than 25 other open source projects. Yet the public perception that the company doesn't care about open source has persisted, despite its efforts, said Ibrahim Haddad, head of the Open Source Innovation Group at Samsung in a presentation at Collaboration Summit last week.

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CC BY 4.0 and CC BY-SA 4.0 added to our list of free licenses

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GNU
Legal

The Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International and Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International licenses are now on our list of free licenses for works of practical use besides software and documentation.

We have updated our list of Various Licenses and Comments about Them to include the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license (CC BY 4.0) and the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license (CC BY-SA 4.0). Both of these licenses are free licenses for works of practical use besides software and documentation.

CC BY 4.0 is a noncopyleft license that is compatible with the GNU General Public License version 3.0 (GPLv3), meaning you can combine a CC BY 4.0 licensed work with a GPLv3 licensed work a larger work that is then released under the terms of GPLv3.

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The Licensing and Compliance Lab interviews Rainey Reitman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation

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GNU
Interviews
Legal

This is the latest installment of our Licensing and Compliance Lab's series on free software developers who choose GNU licenses for their works.

In this edition, we conducted an email-based interview with Rainey Reitman, Activism Director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, about their new EFF Alerts mobile app.

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Open Source Debate: Copyleft vs. Permissive Licenses

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GNU
OSS
Legal

Most discussions of free software licenses bore listeners. In fact, licenses are usually of such little interest that 85%of the projects on Github fail to have one.

However, one aspect of licensing never fails to stir partisan responses: the debate over the relative advantages of copyleft licenses such as the GNU General Public License (GPL), and permissive licenses such as the MIT or the Apache 2 licenses.

You only have to follow the links to Occupy GPL! that are making the rounds to see the emotions that this unending debate can still stir. Calling for an end to "GPL purism," and dismissing the GPL as "not a free license," the site calls on readers to use permissive licenses instead, describing them as "truly OSS [Open Source Software] licenses and urging readers to "Join the Fight!"

Occupy GPL! itself is unlikely to have a future. Anonymous calls to actions rarely succeed; people prefer to know who is giving the call to arms before they muster at the barricades. Nor is the site's outdated name and inconsistent diction, nor the high number of exclamation and question marks likely to inspire many readers. Still, the fact that the site exists at all, and the counter-responses in comments on Google+ show that the old debate is still very much alive.

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Good news: Compatibility of LGPLv2 and LGPLv3

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GNU
Legal

Two of the most used Free Software licenses are the GNU General Public License (GPL) and the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL). Both are copyleft licenses, meaning that you can use them as long as you do not remove the Free Software rights from downstream users. The difference is that the LGPL can be linked unto non-free software (as long as the LGPL library itself stays free), but with the GPL everything needs to be free. In 2007, the FSF published an update to both licenses, so now we have version 2 (“GPLv2” and “LGPLv2.1”) and version 3 (“GPLv3” and “LGPLv3”).

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Pondering the Fate of Open Source & Software Licenses

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OSS
OOo
Legal

Having used OpenOffice for several years on the Panasonic Toughbooks I use in the field, I've avoided buying into traditional or subscription-based services. While enterprises may have a different view on licensing, cost most always figures into the decision-making process. So if they go the subscription route, they'll have to then ask what strategies they can use to lower those costs. Will they be able to haggle on price?

If the subscription model does become the norm, will OpenOffice and other open-source software thrive, dive, or stay the same in market share? I'd like to hear your thoughts.

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Allwinner Accused of Breaking Linux License Rules

Filed under
Linux
Legal

Fabless processor company Allwinner Technology Co. Ltd. (Zhuhai, China) has been accused of violating the GNU General Public License (GPL) under which Linux is distributed.

The alleged violations are within the software development kits that support the writing of software for some of Allwinner's 32-bit system-chips, according to Linux-Sunxi, a community of open-source developers that has formed around the Allwinner SoCs. The Linux kernel is at the heart of the Android operating system, and therefore a significant factor in the tablet computer market which has been a key part of Allwinner's business to date.

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​Google pushes to take Oracle Java copyright case to Supreme Court

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Development
Google
Legal

Google has had enough of its long-running legal battle with Oracle over whether application programming interfaces (API)s can be copyrighted. The search giant has asked the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to bypass further battles in lower courts and address the API copyright issue once and for all. SCOTUS, in return, is soliciting the Obama administration for its view of the case before moving forward.

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Also: Top 10 FOSS legal developments of 2014

The litigation surrounding Android continued this year, with significant developments in the patent litigation between Apple Computer, Inc. (Apple) and Samsung Electronics, Inc. (Samsung) and the copyright litigation over the Java APIs between Oracle Corporation (Oracle) and Google, Inc. (Google). Apple and Samsung have agreed to end patent disputes in nine countries, but they will continue the litigation in the US. As I stated last year, the Rockstar Consortium was a wild card in this dispute. However, the Rockstar Consortium settled its litigation with Google this year and sold off its patents, so it will no longer be a risk to the Android ecosystem.

The copyright litigation regarding the copyrightability of the Java APIs was brought back to life by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) decision which overturned the District Court decision. The District Court had found that Google was not liable for copyright infringement for its admitted copying of the Java APIs: the court found that the Java APIs were either not copyrightable or their use by Google was protected by various defenses to copyright. The CAFC overturned both the decision and the analysis and remanded the case to the District Court for a review of the fair use defense raised by Google. Subsequently, Google filed an appeal to the Supreme Court. The impact of a finding that Google was liable for copyright infringement in this case would have a dramatic effect on Android and, depending on the reasoning, would have a ripple effect across the interpretation of the scope of the “copyleft” terms of the GPL family of licenses which use APIs.

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