Numerous companies have started to use Linux as the foundation for their
commercial products. While this is a good thing[tm], they have to play by the
rules. Over the last couple of months I found out that quite a number of
companies is violating my copyright by not adhering to the GPL.
One of the more commonly-known cases is the Linksys WRT54G product, but there are several others.
The major problem for individual software developers and free software projects is the jurisdiction. For me as a German, I am very unlikely to carry the burden of starting a trial against a U.S. company. Not only that I don't trust their legal system, consider the incredible cost associated with a trial in foreign country.
However, as soon as a product is sold within Germany, I am able to take action against the importer of that device. Considering that .de is supposedly Europe's biggest market for IT, that might hurt the vendor enough to comply with the license, rather than stop selling it.
In the Linksys case, the Free Software Foundation is one of the copyright holders, and thus pushing for GPL compliance. However, after about half a year of lawyers talking, there is still no full GPL compliance. Yes, they have offered some source code on their website, but there's still lots of stuff missing.
I've also received significant indication about quite a number of other cases where GPL'd source code was used to build proprietary software. If I only had the time, I would like to start a website with a database of all known GPL violations, the companies involved, their response, the legal proceedings (if any).
I've started with registering the gpl-violations.org domain name. If anybody out there is interested in starting the website, I'm happy to offer the hosting, traffic, domain, etc. on one of my machines.