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FSF Lawyer and Board Member Serves as Expert Witness in Lawsuit Related to GNU GPL

[ A plain text version of this press release is available in English and French ].

Media Contact: Free Software Foundation
Bradley M. Kuhn <pr@gnu.org>
Phone:+1-617-542-5942

Boston, Massachusetts, USA - Tuesday, February, 26, 2002 - Eben Moglen, General Counsel to the Free Software Foundation (FSF), will testify as an expert witness in the Progress Software Corporation vs. MySQL AB case currently pending in United States District Court in Massachusetts. The current focus of this case is a preliminary injunction sought by MySQL AB concerning a violation of the GNU General Public License (GPL) by Progress Software Corp.

Progress lost the right to distibute MySQL due to a violation of the GNU GPL. Progress distributed a proprietary software component, Gemini, that combined with the GPL'ed MySQL database system. Gemini was linked statically with the MySQL system to form a single binary program. Many times, the FSF has enforced the GNU GPL in such situations, when our copyrights were at stake. We do such enforcement in a confidential setting without the need of court action. Since Progress distributes no FSF-copyrighted code, the FSF is not a party in the case; however, the FSF takes a strong position that Progress is indeed in violation of the GNU GPL.

Moglen said: “In our minds, Progress Software Corp. has committed a garden-variety violation of the GNU GPL. We expect to prevail as we assist MySQL AB in their enforcement action. We are quite surprised that Progress has brought the action this far.”

The preliminary injunction hearing will take place at 2:00 PM on Wednesday, February, 27, 2002 at the Federal Court House in Boston, Massachusetts in the court of Judge Patti B. Saris.

Moglen's full affidavit in this case is available at http://www.fsf.org/press/mysql-affidavit.html. Moglen's full essay about enforcing the GNU GPL is available at http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/enforcing-gpl.html.

About Eben Moglen:

Eben Moglen holds a PhD. in history and a J.D. from Yale University. Moglen is currently a professor of law and legal history at Columbia University Law School, and serves as general counsel for the Free Software Foundation.

About Free Software Foundation:

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software—particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants—and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software. Their web site, located at http://www.gnu.org, is an important source of information about GNU/Linux. They are headquartered in Boston, MA, USA.

 [FSF logo] “Our mission is to preserve, protect and promote the freedom to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer software, and to defend the rights of Free Software users.”

The Free Software Foundation is the principal organizational sponsor of the GNU Operating System. Support GNU and the FSF by buying manuals and gear, joining the FSF as an associate member, or making a donation, either directly to the FSF or via Flattr.

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