Gran triunfo de la GNU / GPL en Francia

Leo en Open… que la Licencia Pública General (GPL), pilar de las licencias libres para software, ha tenido un fuerte reconocimiento en los tribunales franceses. Luego de haber sido probada y ejecutada varias veces en Alemania, ahora se presenta esta decisión favorable en una Corte de Apelación Francesa. La Corte de Apelación resolvió que la empresa Edu4 violó los términos de la licencia GNU General Public License (GPL) al momento de distribuir copias de los binarios del software VNC (de acceso remoto a escritorios) denegando así a los usuarios el acceso a su correspondiente código fuente. La acción judicial fue iniciada por una organización educativa francesa, la Asociation para la Formación Profesional de Adultos (AFPA). Vale decir, la acción fue iniciada por un tercero-usuario damnificado por la acción de Edu4 y no por los autores o titulares derivados de la obra intelectual VNC. Según se expresa en el sitio de la FSF en Francia:

“This decision should raise awareness about free software licensing for everyone involved with it,” said Olivier Hugot, attorney of Free Software Foundation France. “Companies distributing the software have been given a strong reminder that the license’s terms are enforceable under French law. And users in France can rest assured that, if need be, they can avail themselves of the legal system to see violations addressed and their rights respected.”

The events of the case go back to early 2000, when Edu4 was hired to provide new computer equipment in AFPA’s classrooms. Shortly thereafter, AFPA discovered that VNC was distributed with this equipment. Despite repeated requests, with mediation from the Free Software Foundation France, Edu4 refused to provide AFPA with the source code to this version of VNC. Furthermore, FSF France later discovered that Edu4 had removed copyright and license notices in the software. All of these activities violate the terms of the GNU GPL. AFPA filed suit in 2002 to protect its rights and obtain the source code.

“We’ve long said the GNU GPL is enforceable, and of course we’re pleased to see another court reaffirm that fact,” said Loic Dachary, president of FSF France. “But what makes this ruling unique is the fact that the suit was filed by a user of the software, instead of a copyright holder. It’s a commonly held belief that only the copyright holder of a work can enforce the license’s terms – but that’s not true in France. People who received software under the GNU GPL can also request compliance, since the license grants them rights from the authors.”

Este es un caso muy interesante que permite pensar y re-pensar el ‘derecho de copia’ como complemento del derecho de autor en la era digital. La sentencia de la Corte de Apelación está disponible (en francés) en http://fsffrance.org/news/arret-ca-paris-16.09.2009.pdf

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