Welte said he is not aware of any legal action under way in the United States on this matter, adding that the enforcement body, the Free Software Foundation, prefers a "much more quiet approach to GPL enforcement." "This is partly a strategic difference, and partly due to the difference in how the legal system works," he said. "Here in Germany, you basically only have 30 days from discovery of an infringement for negotiations. Only within 30 days you can apply for injunctive relief. If you apply any later, the court would rule that the matter is not urgent, and you should go for a regular copyright trial, which would last years," he told eWEEK.Fortinet sells the FortiGate and FortiWi-Fi products, on which, Welte said, "Fortinet claims to run the FortiOS operating system. However, as the GPL-violations.org project uncovered, FortiOS is using the Linux operating system kernel and numerous other free software products that are licensed exclusively under the GNU GPL. This information was not disclosed by Fortinet," he said. Asked to be more specific, Welte said the violations occurred in "all FortiGate and FortiWi-Fi products, that is, FGT60, FGT100, FGT200, FGT300, FGT400, FGT500, FGT800, FGT1000, FGT3000, FGT3600, FGT4000, FGT5000 and FWF60." "The software in question includes, but is not limited to, the Linux kernel Version 2.4.18,; the UCL data compression library; the Reiser file system [reiserfs]; l2tpd; the GNU C Library [glibc]; and the GNU zlib Compression Library [zlib]," he said. However, the injunction was issued only on "initrd," which is part of the Linux kernel and the "only piece of code in their devices that I hold copyright to," he said. Going forward and as a settlement, Welte and GPL-violations.org want Fortinet to include a copy of the GPL license text with every product, to include the full corresponding source code or a "written offer" indicating the source codes availability on some Web site, and to ensure that both requirements are met for distribution of physical products as well as for firmware updates that could be downloaded, he said. Infringing companies often request a grace period during which they can sell already produced and noncompliant products, Welte said. "This is acceptable to us, but in that case, we insist on some kind of donation," he said. Outside of that, "it would be nice to see them making a donation to organizations within the free and open-source software community, but that is totally up to Fortinet itself. That is not a condition or requirement from our side," he told eWEEK. Welte said he is always open for negotiation. "In fact, my lawyer just received a call from Fortinet some hours ago, indicating their interest in a settlement," he said. Welte said the court-ordered injunction follows a warning notion from the GPL-violations.org project last month, Fortinet Ltd.s failure to agree to and sign a cease-and-desist agreement, and the inability to reach a negotiated, out-of-court settlement in a timely manner. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.
Click here to read about the Free Software Foundation targeting RTLinux for GPL violations.