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05 November 2008, 15:05

Electronic voting booths reportedly violate copyright

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Artifex Software has filed suit against Diebold, a manufacturer of electronic voting machines, and its subsidiary Premier Election Solutions (PES) for violation of copyright. Artifex, the company behind the popular open source Ghostscript program, which enables the display and printing of postscript files, charges that PES violated its copyright by including Ghostscript in its electronic voting machines without a proper license.

In 2006, Artifex began licensing its printing software under the GPL; before that, it used its own AFPL, which explicitly ruled out commercial applications. For proprietary purposes, the software vendor also provides Ghostscript under a commercial license for a fee, in accordance with the dual-licensing principle, but PES apparently never purchased such a license.

PES voting machines are used in the US both in state elections and federal elections, such as the presidential elections that just ended. According to US industry news service InformationWeek, Artifex has filed for unspecified monetary damages in excess of $150,000 and also wants the court to impound the PES equipment that allegedly violates Artifex copyright. The case is yet to come before a court.


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