SFLC Files GPL Violation Lawsuit Against Extreme Networks, Inc.

July 21, 2008

The Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) today announced that it has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against Extreme Networks, Inc. on behalf of its clients, two principal developers of BusyBox, alleging violation of the GNU General Public License (GPL).

BusyBox is a lightweight set of standard Unix utilities commonly used in embedded systems and is open source software licensed under GPL version 2. One of the conditions of the GPL is that re-distributors of BusyBox are required to ensure that each downstream recipient is provided access to the source code of the program.

According to the complaint, SFLC contacted Extreme Networks in February, but the company continues to distribute BusyBox in violation of the GPL. The complaint requests that an injunction be issued against the defendant and that damages and litigation costs be awarded to the plaintiffs. A copy of the complaint, as filed July 17 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, is available at

“We attempted to negotiate with Extreme Networks, but they ultimately ignored us,” said Aaron Williamson, SFLC Counsel. “Like too many other companies we have contacted, they treated GPL compliance as an afterthought. That is not acceptable to us or our clients.”

The lawsuit announced today is the latest in a series of GPL enforcement lawsuits filed on behalf of BusyBox developers Erik Andersen and Rob Landley. So far, four cases have resulted in out-of-court settlements requiring the defendants to distribute source code in compliance with the GPL.

The lawsuit “Erik Andersen and Rob Landley v. Extreme Networks, Inc.,” case number 08-CV-6426, will be heard by Judge Castel.

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