The Free Software Foundation filed its first-ever copyright lawsuit yesterday, against Cisco Systems. The FSF accuses Cisco of not complying with the terms of the FSF's popular viral license, the General Public License, in the company's Linksys line of products. Anyone who distributes software or products that are GPL-licensed must provide source code when distributing it; by falling down on the GPL-vigilance front, "Cisco has denied its users their right to share and modify the software," say FSF lawyers.
The non-profit FSF has never before gone to court as a plaintiff to enforce the GPL, the license that founder Richard Stallman has called his "hack" of copyright law. But it has provided pro-bono legal services to open source developers who want to enforce their own GPL'd code, most notably in the BusyBox litigations.
A Cisco spokesperson stressed the company's commitment to open source, and responded that "We are currently reviewing the issues raised in the suit but believe we are substantially in compliance. We have always worked very closely with the FSF and hope to reach a resolution agreeable to the company and the foundation." (via Ars Technica)