Sony Rootkits, IP Violations by Sony?
I haven’t covered the Sony rootkit issues, mainly because I was too tired to post when it all broke. And also because I don’t use Windows. However, while reading Groklaw today, something made me want to post. And it’s a wonderful story.
It seems that the Sony Rootkit may infringe on other people’s code. Ironic, no? Software installed on your computer by Sony to stop you stealing their music contains code which is licensed under the LGPL and does not comply with that same license.
For more information, go here.
In a way, I am not surprised. Not even a little bit. The GPL and the LGPL and the other licenses created around F/OSS are not really understood by the very people who should understand it. Companies who have teams of lawyers on their books, and the money to find people who understand licenses inside and out, have absolutely no excuse not to comply with the license.
The fact is that F/OSS code still has this image of the lone hacker tapping away at their keyboard in their parent’s basement. While I will accept that this is partly true, that is only a small portion of what we’re all about. Once that code has been put out their, legions of programmers pull it apart and put it back together again – changing, improving and adjusting the code. By using the code, you are not just using one person’s efforts, you are using the combined efforts of numerous people.
And they will notice if you use it wrongly. And they will not be silent.
A large corporation misusing F/OSS code could well be one more chink in the IP armour of big companies. If Microsoft isn’t immune, why should Sony be?