GPL granted an injunction in Germany

German courts continue to give credence to the GPL. A software company called Fortinet developed several security products, including firewall and anti-virus software. This was supposed to run on something they called “FortiOS”, which they claimed was their own operating system. The problem is that this operating system was actually largely based on the Linux kernel, which is licensed through the GPL. Not only did they do this, but they tried to hide this fact through encryption. GPL-violations.org sent a cease-and-desist letter, but Fortinet failed to sign it. Free Software advocates then asked for an injunction against Fortinet in the Munich district court, where they have obtained a preliminary injunction banning Fortinet from further distribution of the offending software until they are in compliance with the GPL.

This is welcome news, and continues to erode the arguments of those who think that the GPL is not valid (usually made by Microsoft and its minions). I am also struck by how the German courts are so willing to embrace the GPL, as they have done before. I remember being in a conference where a German professor assured me and the audience that a German court would never find the GPL enforceable.