Saw the news today that the SFLC has filed suit against Verizon on behalf of its client BusyBox.
Its interesting that for years the SFLC never once filed suit trying to enforce the GPL, yet in a matter of three months has filed suit (on behalf of the same client, BusyBox) against Monsoon Multimedia, High Gain Antennas, and Xterasys Corporation. And now Verizon.
To me, this clearly represents a shift in policy. For years the preferred outcome was compliance. Eben Moglen has outlined the FSFs philosophy on enforcement and it’s quite clear. Litigation is a last resort.
Our position has always been that compliance with the license, and security for future good behavior, are the most important goals. We have done everything to make it easy for violators to comply, and we have offered oblivion with respect to past faults.
I think what we’re seeing here is more than just another example of the Cockroach Principle. The message they’re sending here is quite clear:
Don’t mess with software freedom!
Personally, I’m glad to see this more aggressive posture. Even though you don’t want to litigate, sometimes you’ve just got to throw an elbow.