Legal Battle Involving the Linux kernel
There is ongoing battle between two German firms that involves the Linux kernel. The companies are AVM Computersysteme Vertriebs GmbH (AVM), and Cybits AG (Cybits).
According to a report by the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE):
The case was brought to court by AVM with the aim of preventing Cybits from changing any parts of the firmware used in AVM’s routers, including the Linux kernel. The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) and gpl-violations.org consider AVM’s action as a broad attack against the principles of Free Software, and thus against the thousands of individuals and companies developing, improving and distributing Free Software.
“I decided to contribute my work to the Linux kernel under the GNU GPL, and let others benefit from it. I’m happy if companies make a lot of money with software written by me and thousands of others. But in return, when they distribute our software I want them to give others the same rights they received from me”, said Harald Welte, founder of gpl-violations.org and copyright holder of several parts of the Linux kernel.
This is however exactly what AVM tried to avoid when in 2010 they filed two actions against Cybits. AVM claimed that when their customers install Cybits’ filtering software on AVM routers it changes the routers’ firmware and consequently infringes on AVM’s copyright. In the opinion of AVM, even changing the Linux kernel components of the firmware is not allowed.
More on this case here.