Heather J. Meeker spreads false claims about gpl-violations.org.

In an article on linuxinsider.com, Heather J. Meeker of Greenbar Traurig LLP (don't miss the background info at FFII Wiki) makes false claims about the gpl-violations project and myself.

I've pointed out her mistakes in the following letter:

Dear Ms. Meeker,

it has come to my attention that you have authored an article entitled "Open Source and the Legend of Linksys", published at linuxinsider.com, in which you make false statements in order to discredit the gpl-violations.org project and myself.

There is nothing wrong with press articles and commentaries about the GPL, the gpl-violations.org project or myself, no matter how critical they are - as long as they are based on facts. Spreading lies is however not acceptable to me.

The most obviously wrong statement is "But, it so happened, that AOpen was actually compliant, having offered the source code on a German Web site, as Welte later noted in his blog. Never mind.".

The truth is: AOpen Germany offered the _object_ code of the GPL licensed software on their German FTP-server, without complying to the GPL license terms. My blog clearly states "Firmware" (which is by definition object code, not source code). This means that in fact they are even legally responsible, since they distributed GPL licensed software without adhering to the license conditions.

Two other quotes from your article: "The problem is that Welte apparently does not hold the copyright to the code that is the subject of these letters."

"Some of Welte's targets have complied voluntarily, but one suspects that is because they were simply unaware of the problem. Welte apparently has no authority to enforce these copyrights."

This is again wrong. I have never enforced any copyright that I don't own. What has happened is that some other Linux kernel developers have transferred their copyright to me, so I can take action in cases where my own copyright is not involved. [which by the way is also a good indication that gpl-violations.org is not some lone lunatic but backed by the development community].

Obviously I reserve the right to inform any organization about illegal copyright infringement they might be committing, even if I'm not the copyright holder. This must not be confused with legal GPL enforcement by an actual copyright holder through in or out-of-court legal action.

Specifically, regarding to the "CeBIT letter action", I could have started legal proceedings in all those cases. In fact, my legal team an I were planning to personally hand over a preliminary injunction at one of the CeBIT booths. Rather than doing so, I thought I could save the respective infringing companies the trouble of legal charges and legal expenses by first writing them an informal letter.

At this point in time, I do not know the legal situation of such easily-to-be-proven false statements in the US. In Germany we have laws that force the press to publish "correction statements" written by the person or entity that was subject of those false statements. I will consult my legal advise about this matter.

I would like to ask you to clarify those issues. Since it is an on-line article, it should be possible to amend it. If that is not possible, I'm sure there is some other way to let the readers know about those two "mistakes" in the article.

Sincerely, Harald Welte

I've posted some additional comments in the talkback section of the article. They yet have to be approved by the publisher.