3 Count: GPL Enforcement

The New GNU Knew...

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1: Harley-Davidson Ends Urban Outfitters Fight Over Infringing Ts

First off today, Kali Hays at Womens Wear Daily reports that Harley-Davidson has reached a settlement with Urban Outfitters, putting an end to the lawsuit between them and any further sale of Harley-Davidson merchandise at the store.

The motorcycle company filed a lawsuit against Urban Outfitters alleging that the store was selling unauthorized merchandise bearing their name and artwork. Originally, Harley-Davidson sought some $2 million in damages for copyright and trademark infringement but seems to have agreed to drop the lawsuit simply in exchange for Urban Outfitters not carrying any merchandise bearing any of its symbols.

While the settlement, which has been approved by the court, puts an end to the hostilities, Harley-Davidson does reserve the right to file again should Urban Outfitters breach the term of the settlement.

2: For Now, GNU GPL is an Enforceable Contract, Says US Federal Judge

Next up today, Kieren McCarthy at The Register reports that a California judge has ruled that the GNU GPL is a contract and, more importantly, is enforceable.

The case pits California-based Artifex against South Korean company Hancom. Hancom sells an office sweet similar to Microsoft Office and incorporated Artifex’s Ghostscript into it to aid with PDF creation. However, rather than paying for a commercial license, Hancom used the GNU Affero General Public License, which it is dual-licensed under. But, when Hancom made changes to Ghostscript as part of its integration, it declined to release them as open source, as required by the GNU GPL.

Hancom argued that it didn’t agree to anything since it never signed a contract and, even if it did, the contract claim is preempted by copyright law. The judge, however, ruled that Hancom had indeed agreed to the GNU GPL in a manner that creates the contract and that, since the license is on top of copyright law and is agreed to separate, it copyright law doesn’t preempt the claim.

3: It’s a Rap: Eminem Lawsuit Against New Zealand Political Party Ends

Finally today, the Associated Press reports that Eminem’s lawsuit against the National Party in New Zealand has reached a conclusion.

In a pitched 2-week battle, the musician (or rather his publisher) argued that the National Party violated his copyright by using an extremely similar song as part of a campaign ad during a recent election. The two sites both put music experts on the stand that argued about when a song becomes so similar that it is infringing.

The lawsuit was lampooned by U.S. comedian John Oliver in a recent segment of his TV show, bringing the case international attention. However, the judge is expected to take up to 3 months to review the case before issuing a ruling.


That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.

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