-Source Licensing Suffers Setback in Court"> The remedy for contract violations under U.S. law is generally monetary damages, not injunctive relief where the court orders a party to stop the violation. Open source licensors would prefer to obtain an injunction prohibiting the breach of the license, he said. But the news is not all bad as the case is far from over. This motion was just for a preliminary injunction and to strike certain claims from the complaint.But the case is a "watershed" for the open-source community as it marks the first time a US court has ruled on a request for an injunction to protect an open-source license. "Virtually all open source licensors assume that a court would grant injunctive relief for a breach of the terms of an open-source license rather than restricting the licensor to contract remedies of damages," said Radcliffe, who has also blogged about the case. In addition, by denying the plaintiff an injunction, the court has set "a dangerous precedent for enforcement of open-source licenses, because an injunction is frequently the only practical remedy for licensors since open-source software is provided for free and damages are very difficult to determine," he said. Microsoft says it is not bound by the GPLv3. Click here to read more. The fact that the defendants replaced Jacobsens name in the copyright notices in the original program with their own names, strikes at the core open source principle of giving credit to authors. "This is the little engine that could derail the expectations of many open source authors," Radcliffe said. He also voiced the frustration felt by many lawyers serving the open source industry due to the fact that there are currently few legal rulings in place that interpret open-source licenses. That situation is complicated by the increasing use of open-source software and the belief by many lawyers that issues like the scope of the open-source license will inevitably find their way to the courts. "The decision is a preliminary one and the case will continue. We hope that the court will change its holding," he said. "This case is one of the first examples of these disputes and, unfortunately, in my opinion, this case was wrongly decided. If this ruling is allowed to stand it could deprive open source licensors of the ability to get a court order, an injunction, to stop violation of the terms of their license, one of the most important remedies for breach of such licenses," Radcliffe said. The next step involves the parties submitting a joint case management conference statement to the court by no later than September 7, ahead of a case management conference on September 14 to set the timing for the rest of the case. "Nothing substantive is likely to be decided at this conference," Ratcliffe said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.
"Next will come discovery, and maybe more motions, with questions asked in writing and orally to get to the facts. After getting new facts, the court may reconsider the conclusion. Next will come a trial and the judge may decide that, based on the additional fact finding, he was wrong initially," Radcliffe said.