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Does Using GPL Software Violate Sarbanes-Oxley? 272

Anonymous Coward writes "eWeek is reporting that The Software Freedom Law Center has published a white paper that dismisses recent publications from embedded systems seller Wasabi Systems. Wasabi recently released statements focusing on alleged GNU General Public License violations in relation to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. The white paper, titled "Sarbanes-Oxley and the GPL: No Special Risk," essentially counsels users of the free software license that they have no need to worry."
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Does Using GPL Software Violate Sarbanes-Oxley?

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  • by gregor_b_dramkin ( 137110 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @04:37PM (#14869480) Homepage
    violators of GPL are violators of Sarbanes-Oxley.

    solution: don't violate the GPL.
  • by winkydink ( 650484 ) * <> on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @04:39PM (#14869510) Homepage Journal
    If you rely on public websites for your corporate legal advice, you deserve exactly what you pay for it.

    Ultimately, there is only one kind of person who can tell you if it is legal or not. That person is called a Judge or, in rare instances for corporations, a Jury.
  • by Jeffrey Baker ( 6191 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @04:48PM (#14869577)
    More importanly, you can substitute any other license for "GPL" in the parent post. If you misappropriate software under any license, you could have some liability. Duh.
  • by XMilkProject ( 935232 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @04:50PM (#14869598) Homepage
    Is water wet?

    In the vast majority of possible temperatures it is gas or solid. So I'd say, on average, no; water is not wet.

  • by jamcmh ( 946845 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @04:54PM (#14869634)
    I like what you said, but let's be clear... SOX says nothing about change management.

    SOX can be boiled down to two things: #1) The opinion from the auditor of how effective your controls are (this includes everything from IT to Payroll, and everything in between), and #2) The opinion from the auditor expressing their evaluation of if or if not you are following the controls.

    Now. Consider what you said:

    "SOX requires strict change management..." -- While true, it is somewhat misleading. Your company has established a Change Management methodology as a control to cover the accountability of changes to the systems. You follow these Change Management guidelines as if it were a religion. That results in #1 - their opinion of your C/M after evaluting it, and #2 - their opinion of if you're following it religiously.
  • by Fujisawa Sensei ( 207127 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @05:03PM (#14869685) Journal
    Does Using GPL Software Violate Sarbanes-Oxley?

    Does this actually have anything to do with the article? No

    The Article says that violating the GPL may be a SOX violation, but no more so than any other EULA.

    I've seen a lot of complaints about Zonk; SM is worse.

  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @05:05PM (#14869696) Journal

    Do you believe that?

    Business can not happen without the government. Its in any economics101 course and certain services can not be done by business. Mainly things in public consumption since its not profitable to help everyone.

    The free market works best when the market is stable. The government tries to setup the market as free as possible and to stabilize it so it can grow.

    Without SOX you would have problems of more problems of bad accounting reporting which would hurt the general market more.

    The government is not always the bad guy here and many market purist forget withotu the government regulating currency, providing roads, educating yoru workforce, and making trade negotiations with foreign nations we wouldn't have a market for you to sell products to.

    It seems all these mu8lti billion dollar right wing think tanks sponsored by big businesses have quite a few followers today. I just dont understand the American obsession agaisnt government but not at all agaisnt big business?
  • by jdavidb ( 449077 ) * on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @05:06PM (#14869702) Homepage Journal

    Instead of requiring companies to do anything, how about telling people that they really shouldn't put their money anywhere but where they trust?

    Our culture has accepted a lie about trust. We believe that it is the obligation of people to extend trust, and that it is a moral failing when they do not. In reality, the exact opposite is true. Nobody should be trusted until they have proved themselves trustworthy. If person A fails to trust person B, that is solely and completely person B's responsibility. It is not person A's fault. A has to earn B's trust.

    This was clear to me during my dating days in an online singles community when I'd hear women who had just been jilted say, "How can I ever trust anyone again?" Well, the problem is that they were extending trust to people who had not yet earned it, and those people performed as could be expected. Then these women were viewing it as somehow their own moral obligation to trust people after that. In reality they were receiving an education that was pointing them to the obvious conclusion that it was not their responsibility to trust people who have not earned it.

    Extending that to business is left as an exercise for the reader; I've had more success in dating than I have in business. ;)

  • by booch ( 4157 ) <`slashdot2010' `at' `'> on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @05:12PM (#14869745) Homepage
    In almost EVERY argument against the GPL, you can substitute any other license for "GPL", and the argument would still hold true.

    One of the biggest arguments against the GPL is that if you use it in your own code, you have to agree to its terms. In the case of the GPL, those terms mean that your code must be GPLed. Other licenses set other terms; many licenses don't even ALLOW you to use their code in your code. In any case, if you don't follow the terms, you can be sued for copyright violation. So you always have a choice, no matter what the license -- either follow the license, or get sued.
  • you know (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ender Ryan ( 79406 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @05:14PM (#14869756) Journal
    I really hate to think that the law is so fucking insane that your "regular," above average intelligence bloke can't figure it out for himself. If that truly is the case, which it most certainly seems to be, we seriously need to start all over again. Start with the Constitution, and go from there, and try a little fucking harder to prevent it all from being corrupted like it is now.

    The Founders of this insane country have got to be spinning in their graves.

  • by outZider ( 165286 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @05:14PM (#14869757) Homepage
    and then it is no longer water.
  • by booch ( 4157 ) <`slashdot2010' `at' `'> on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @05:22PM (#14869807) Homepage
    According to SOX you need to give an account on who owns all your IP.
    Here is the problem. You run linux and your software is an asset used to help run your company. Who owns it?
    I still don't see the problem. It's not my IP, so I don't have to account for it. Really, you'd have the same problem with code from Microsoft and other proprietary software vendors. Much of the code they sell is sub-licensed code owned by other companies. Heck, some of it is even BSD-licensed code.
  • by AuMatar ( 183847 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @05:28PM (#14869852)
    You are only protected through contracts, not through law forcing people to act a certain way

    Contracts are only worth the paper they're printed on because the law enforces consequences if they're broken. In the end, it still falls back on the law to enforce good behavior. The problem isn't that the laws to force the truth don't work- its that they aren't actively investigated or enforced until after a major collapse such as Enron. And that even after that, most of the people get away with it. What we need is better enforcement.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @05:49PM (#14870007)
    People who think for themselves will one day realize that in the end, it's all about FREEDOM. Corporations do not have your best interests at heart and never will. The GPL is where the future of free software is, and only the GPL. People who bitch and moan about things will one day thank the GPL for being what it is. Corporations are becoming stronger. GPL software can never be stopped by anyone, ever, anytime.
  • by Wizardry Dragon ( 952618 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @06:12PM (#14870259) Homepage Journal
    Is this an 'innocent until proven guilty' world or a 'guilty until proven innocent' world?

    I tend to take a decidedly buddhist view when it comes to that, nothing to do with the religion (before I get a religious flamewar going here), but I believe in moderation. Completely distrusting everyone is no worse than complete trusting everyone. You have to strike a balance - the way our world works depends upon it. Buisness depend upon trusting that the average consumer is not a theif (someone should tell the RIAA that, before they strangle the music industry), relationships depend upon trusting that the person you are with will be true to you, in whatever way that means to you.

    ~ Wizardry Dragon
  • by killjoe ( 766577 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @06:59PM (#14870651)
    In india you can buy and sell children. In fact many children are sold to quarries where they carry stones on top of their heads until they are about 15 or 16 because by that time they are crippled by either a leg injury of a spine injury. By the time they are that old they are also deeply in debt to the company they are working for because the company has been charging them for rent and food (which by coincidence is more then they earn). Their only way out is to have children and then sell the children to the company to satisfy their debt. After being freed from their debt both boys and girls usually go into prostitution because their bodies are too broken to do any other kind of work.

    That's just one industry. In india there are a huge number of people who are in similar situations.

    No thanks.
  • by matt4077 ( 581118 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @08:44PM (#14871461) Homepage
    Your comment is somewhat true. However, trust is very important for an economy. I. e. you wouldn't buy anything without some trust, currencies are based only on trust (no more gold standard) etc.

    I seem to recall that much of the economic success the jewish communities had in the early 20th century and before was based on trust, i. e. you could give someone locally some money and some business partner of them would pay the same sum (minus some fees maybe) to the final recipient. Very useful in the times before international banking systems were firmly established.

    Why were they trustworthy? Because their reputation depended on it, and reputation is rather important in small communities.

    Today, the communities are much larger, so you wouldn't know someone personally or be able to learn anything about his personal reputation. That's why there are companies like Western Union, Paypal and banks. These entities are under the rule of law, in which you trust. The law has therefore become a proxy for trust.

  • by kesuki ( 321456 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @09:24PM (#14871726) Journal
    but illegal to distribute the resultant code

    I think you meant 'binaries' of course, obviously you can redistribute the source code, it just won't Compile or if it compiles it won't 'run' without the proprietary bits that you had to seperate out.

    anyways, it's just a sign of how sad and pathetic things are nowadays. back in the old days if you invented something, but hated patents, you could just tell people how to do it, and no one else could patent it, because you'd proven how to do it first... but with software, you can't even GIVE it away without being at risk of being sued, hense the various 'open source' licences.
  • by killjoe ( 766577 ) on Tuesday March 07, 2006 @09:42PM (#14871822)
    "You're right, I witness such a "business." I also witnesses families who were able to leave the situation and better themselves just a few miles over in a tourist-friendly town."

    In any country there will be the poor and the rich. The measure of a countries civility and humanity is how the poor live. The fact that there are people "getting ahead" in India is of little consequence when they are getting ahead on the backs of child labor, prison labor, and slavery.

    A programmer in India is able to charge two dollars an hour because his house was built by the destiture using bricks made by five year old girls, using furniture made by slave children.

    Like I said. No thanks.

    "In American, we carry the burden of our parents on our heads so much that by the time we'll retire, we'll have to pass our our expenses to the next generation."

    Unlike most of the world your parents will get Social security, medicare or medicaid. Imagine your burden if those weren't there?

    "I see opportunities for growth in India, I see almost none hear."

    In that case you are blind. If you don't see opportunity in America you are not looking.

    "This country, the US, will learn a very harsh lesson, very soon. If it wasn't for the imperialist wars waged against others, I think we'd have collapsed by now."

    And we will continue to wage wars to prop ourselves up. One of the reasons we invaded iraq was to prevent them from asking euros for their oil. Make no bones about it. We will kill anybody who gets in our way. This is why America is dominant. We have no morals when it comes to money. This is also why there is more opportunity here then anyplace else.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @05:15AM (#14873375)
    People like you are the reason I stopped drinking coffee while reading through comments here. My keyboard may be filthy but it's still dry.

Reactor error - core dumped!