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26Aug/101

A Question of legal standing: Perhaps end users can sue for GPL violations?

A question of legal standing: I take for granted that generally, only a copyright holder has the right to sue over a GPL licence/copyright violation. Assuming that to be true, most people do not have legal standing to go after a licence/copyright violator.

But what if instead of suing for licence/copyright violations, you sued for (willful or not) fraud? As an example, lets say you had bought a "device" that was made by Acme, Inc. By whatever means, you discover that the device came with GPL licensed binaries: Linux, busybox, and mtd.
You look, but can't find an offer of source, or even a recognition of the GPL licensed software on the device.

You have now purchased a device running software that Acme had no right to sell - in essence, they sold you stolen property. Also, without that software, the device is useless. Do you have standing to sue for fraud? or something else? or do you still have no standing?

As a bonus, if you have standing, are you only eligible for reimbursement, or might you get punitive damages? Also, could you do this in small claims court?

   
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