'Former Linux developer Patrick McHardy dropped his Gnu General Public
License version 2 (GPLv2) violation case against Geniatech in a German
court this week. ZDNet explains why some consider this a big "win":
People who find violations typically turn to organizations such as the
Free Software Foundation, Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC), and the
Software Freedom Law Center to approach violators. These organizations
then try to convince violating companies to mend their ways and honor
their GPLv2 legal requirements. Only as a last resort do they take
companies to court to force them into compliance with the GPLv2.
Patrick McHardy, however, after talking with SFC, dropped out from
this diplomatic approach and has gone on his own way. Specifically,
McHardy has been accused of seeking his own financial gain by
approaching numerous companies in German courts. Geniatech claimed
McHardy has sued companies for Linux GPLv2 violations in over 38
cases. In one, he'd requested a contractual penalty of €1.8 million.
The company also claimed McHardy had already received over €2 million
from his actions...
In July 2016, the Netfilter developers suspended him from the core
team. They received numerous allegations that he had been shaking down
companies. McHardy refused to discuss these issues with them, and he
refused to sign off on the Principles of Community-Oriented GPL
Enforcement. In October 2017, Greg Kroah-Hartman, Linux kernel
maintainer for the stable branch, summed up the Linux kernel
developers' position. Kroah-Hartman wrote: "McHardy has sought to
enforce his copyright claims in secret and for large sums of money by
threatening or engaging in litigation...."
Had McHardy continued on his way, companies would have been more
reluctant to use Linux code in their products for fear that a single,
unprincipled developer could sue them and demand payment for his
copyrighted contributions... McHardy now has to bear all legal costs
for both sides of the case. In other words, when McHardy was faced
with serious and costly opposition for the first time, he waved a
white flag rather than face near certain defeat in the courts. '
-- source: https://linux.slashdot.org/story/18/03/10/2323242
Dept. of Computer Science
University of Waikato, NZ
+64 (7) 858-5174