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<title>FSFE compliance workshop discovers GPL violation by FANTEC, Welte wins in court</title>
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<h1>FSFE compliance workshop discovers GPL violation by FANTEC, Welte wins in court</h1>
<p>The <a
href="http://www.ifross.org/sites/default/files/130618%20Urteil%20Fantec.pdf">Regional
Court of Hamburg [Landgericht Hamburg] found FANTEC GmbH guilty of
violating the GNU General Public License</a> in their media player FANTEC
3DFHDL. In the case between Harald Welte versus FANTEC GmbH the court
decided that FANTEC has to pay a penalty fee plus additional costs for the
lawyers, and has to give out the exact information about their chain of
distribution of the FANTEC 3DFHDL Media Player.</p>
<p>FANTEC was using the netfilter/iptables software (firewalling software
for GNU/Linux) in one of the FANTEC 3DFHDL firmwares offered online. They
distributed the firmware without complete corresponding source code as
required by the GNU General Public License, version 2 (GPLv2) that governs
the netfilter/iptables software. Attempts to resolve this issue failed,
after which Harald Welte, one of the copyright holders of iptables, decided
to go to court. The court decided that FANTEC acted negligently: they would
have had to ensure to distribute the software under the conditions of the
GPLv2. The court made explicit that it is insufficient for FANTEC to rely
on the assurance of license compliance of their suppliers. FANTEC itself is
required to ascertain that no rights of third parties are violated.</p>
<blockquote><p>"It is great to see that the court acknowledges the fact
that vendors themselves are responsible for checking their products for
GNU GPL compliance. Especially FANTEC, who already had earlier issues
with GNU GPL compliance, should have known better. This was just
laziness," says Harald Welte, founder of <a
href="http://gpl-violations.org">gpl-violations.org</a> and plaintiff
in the case.</p></blockquote>
<p>The GNU GPL violation was found at a "Hacking for Compliance workshop"
of the Free Software Foundation Europe in May 2012 in Berlin. Several
volunteers helped checking different devices for GNU GPL compliance.
Afterwards the results where forwarded to gpl-violations.org and their
lawyers, who followed up on it.</p>
<p>Although FANTEC denied at first, compliance engineers of FSFE and
gpl-violations.org were able to prove that the software iptables version
1.3.7 was on the device, even though FANTEC did not include the sources for
this program in the provided source code. Besides they showed that the
software was compiled on another date than the offered source code, proving
that the source code offered by FANTEC was outdated.</p>
<blockquote><p>"Together with our volunteers we will continue to ensure that users
receive the freedom to use, study, share, and improve the software on their
products. These are the basic principles of the Free Software community,
and every company distributing the software has to comply with the
respective licenses. Companies obviously see the benefit in building upon
Free Software, and they should stick to these basic and simple rules." says
Matthias Kirschner, FSFE's German coordinator and one of the organisers of
the compliance workshop.</p></blockquote>
<p>FSFE provides some <a href="/activities/ftf/useful-tips-for-vendors.html">
easy steps</a> to follow to make your product GNU GPL compliant.</p>
<p>The court decision (DE) is available on the <a
href="http://www.ifross.org/sites/default/files/130618%20Urteil%20Fantec.pdf">IFROSS
site (PDF)</a>.</p>
<p>Other news related to GNU GPL violation cases: </p>
<ul>
<li>2011-11-10: "<a
href="/news/2011/news-20111110-01.html">Court
rejects AVM´s claims opposing third party modifications of GPL
software"</a>.</li>
</ul>
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