The FSF has sued Cisco for damages regarding their continued violations of the GPL and LGPL by not distributing source for FSF code in a long list of products:
Defendant distributed Plaintiff’s Programs in this manner in the Firmware for Linksys’ models EFG120, EFG250, NAS200, SPA400, WAG300N, WAP4400N, WIP300, WMA11B, WRT54GL, WRV200, WRV54G, and WVC54GC, and in the program Quick-VPN.
Here’s the complaint. What caught my eye was what they are asking for. Among other things:
(3) That the Court order Defendant to account for and disgorge to Plaintiff all profits derived by Defendant from its unlawful acts;
That’s a long list of pretty popular products, and the violations have been going on since 2003. If the FSF does press for full damages (rather than, say, the filing being a way to get Cisco to comply, and then they’ll drop it) and the judge awards this, it’ll surely fund the FSF and SFLC for years.
They’re entitled to ask for all profits. However, the most likely outcome is that Cisco settles for an “undisclosed sum” (probably substantial, but still much less than all profit for the products in question), agrees to comply, and appoints a compliance officer. It should be similar to the BusyBox cases.
The courts have increased intolerance for excessive copyright damage calculations. Unless the allegedly misused code is central to the Lyksys product (which it seemingly is not because the code is merely a portion of software used to run the hardware, and the hardware is the product in this case) then the amount of profits attributable to misuse of the code would likely be very small.