Free Software Foundation Sued Over GPL

4 May ’05

The U.S. Free Software Foundation is being sued over the General Public License for restraint of trade under the Clayton Antitrust Act:

The pro se suit, filed by physicist, computer programmer and Groklaw gadfly Daniel Wallace, charges that the GPL “contract licensing scheme” artificially fixes software prices.

Wallace is asking the court for an injunction that would outlaw the use of the GPL in the United States.

The four-page suit claims that the “Free Software Foundation has entered into contracts and otherwise conspired and agreed with individual software authors and commercial distributors of commodity software products such as Red Hat Inc. and Novell Inc. to artificially fix the prices charged for computer software programs through the promotion and use of an adhesion contract that was created, used and promoted since at least the year 1991 by the Free Software Foundation Inc. This license is known as the GNU General Public License. The price -fixing scheme implemented with the use of the GNU General Public License substantially lessens the ability of individual software authors to compete in a free market through the creation, sale and distribution of computer software programs.”

Mr. Wallace claims that his “ability to work and create commercial computer programs is dependent upon a market free of restraints on trade through price-fixing schemes” and that the “rapid adoption of the GNU General Public License in schemes to deflate or eliminate the free market valuation of computer programs threatens to diminish or destroy [his] ability to earn future revenues in the career field of computer programming.”

Details at Linux Business News.

Via BNA’s Internet Law News.

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