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04 August 2010, 12:12

SFC wins default judgement against GPL violator

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GPL Teaser At the end of last year, the Software Freedom Conservancy launched a legal action against fourteen consumer electronics companies, including Best Buy, Samsung Electronics America, Westinghouse Digital, JVC America, Western Digital and Zyxel for including BusyBox software in their products without complying with the GPL. Yesterday, it announced that it had won a default judgementPDF against one of those companies, Westinghouse Digital Electronics.

The default judgement was made on the basis that the company had ceased to respond to discovery requests from the court or the SFC. The SFC was awarded $90,000 damages and $47,685 legal costs. Westinghouse Digital Electronics was also ordered to hand over equipment in its possession that contained GPL code and forbidden to distribute devices which contained the BusyBox software.

The reason that Westinghouse did not respond appears to be that it was already in the process of assigning its assets to creditors, having entered into a Californian variant of bankruptcy called "General Assignment". This means that the SFC will now have to apply to the administrators of Westinghouse Digital Electronics to be paid as a creditor. Other creditors include Zenith Electronics which won a default judgement of on July 18 resolving a patent suit it brought against Westinghouse in 2006.

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