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<title>Court rejects AVM´s claims opposing third party modifications of GPL software</title>
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<h1>Court rejects AVM´s claims opposing third party modifications of GPL software</h1>
<p>On November 8th the Regional Court of Berlin [Landgericht
Berlin] issued its decision in the previously reported case AVM Computersysteme
Vertriebs GmbH (AVM) v. Cybits AG (Cybits). In this case, AVM was essentially
trying to stop Cybits from modifying GNU GPL licensed Free Software inside of
their AVM Fritz!Box products. Yesterday, the court dismissed this principal
claim. Thus, it also confirmed that users of embedded devices with
pre-installed Free Software have the legal freedom to make, install, run and
distribute modifications to this Free Software. The Free Software Foundation
Europe (FSFE) and gpl-violations.org, both welcome this decision.</p>
<p>Although the written reasoning of the decision is not available yet, it is
clear that the court rejected AVM's claims according to which no third party
shall be permitted to alter their products' firmware, even if the GNU GPL
components are concerned. Thus, Cybits or anyone else may perform such
modifications. Furthermore, under the judgement, Cybits is not prohibited from
distributing its software that assists users in making and installing
modifications to GNU GPL licensed software (Linux kernel used in the Fritz!Box
device).</p>
<p>"I am extremely pleased that the court turned down any request by AVM to
control any modification to the GNU GPL licensed components of the Fritz!Box
firmware. Enabling and encouraging everyone to innovate based on existing
software and products is a key aspect of the Free Software movement.", says
Harald Welte, founder of gpl-violations.org and third party intervener on
behalf of Cybits in the dispute.</p>
<p>On the other hand, the court upheld an auxiliary claim raised by AVM. In its
ruling, it enjoins Cybits from distributing the software only in case it causes
the web interface to display a wrong status of the internet connection and web
filtering software. "But this is a side issue, the important part is: Free
Software gives everybody the right to use, study, share, and improve it. Nobody
should be allowed to prevent others from executing those rights", says Matthias
Kirschner, FSFE's German coordinator.</p>
<p>The decision can be appealed by either party within one month.</p>
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<p>FSFE and gpl-violations.org are committed to encouraging the use of Free
Software by companies and developers by making licensing and compliance as easy
as possible. Generally it is considerably easier to comply with Free Software
licenses than with EULAs and other license agreements for non-Free software.
Often it is only necessary to add a copy of the GNU GPL license text to
documentation, and add an offer to provide the software source code (see
<a href="/activities/ftf/useful-tips-for-vendors.html">FSFE's compliance tips</a>).</p>
<ul>
<li><a href="/activities/avm-gpl-violation/avm-gpl-violation.html">Detailed background information</a></li>
<li>Previous news on this case:</li>
<ul>
<li>2011-06-20 - <a href="/news/2011/news-20110620-01.html">AVM violating license of the Linux kernel</a></li>
<li>2011-06-22 - <a href="/news/2011/news-20110622-01.html">FSFE on AVM vs Cybits: A small computer is still a computer</a></li>
</ul>
<li><a href="https://lwn.net/Articles/465070/">LWN article: "ELCE11: Till Jaeger on AVM vs. Cybits"</a></li>
</ul>
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