Linux Users May Be Breaking U.S. Securities Laws According to Attorneys; Wasabi Systems Releases a New Study Analyzing Sarbanes-Oxley Risks Associated with Linux
"Linux is a powerful operating system," says Jay Michaelson, an author of the white paper and Wasabi Systems' General Counsel. "But if companies violate the license, the consequences can be more severe than they think." He notes that Wasabi uses open source software in its products, including very careful use of software governed by the GPL.
“And if they don't have the right to use the software, they're violating federal law if they claim that they do.”
According to Michaelson, the problem lies with the requirement of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, passed in 2002, that companies disclose ownership of intellectual property to their shareholders. Michaelson says that dozens of companies are discovered each year to have violated the terms of the GPL, and if they are public companies, they are violating Sarbanes-Oxley. "If companies are violating the GPL, they don't have the right to use that software," asserts Michaelson. "And if they don't have the right to use the software, they're violating federal law if they claim that they do."
The extent of this problem remains unclear. The Free Software Foundation, which is the primary enforcer of the GPL, reports that it pursues "several dozen" enforcement actions each year. In the past, such violators were merely required to release their code to the public. Now, Michaelson says, "Sarbanes changes the picture completely. For public companies, violating the Linux license is now a matter of federal securities law."
The white paper can be found today at www.WasabiSystems.com/gpl. As part of an educational campaign focused on the GPL, additional white papers, presentations and seminars will be made available.
About Wasabi Systems
Wasabi Systems is changing the way networked storage and embedded systems are developed and deployed. With its powerful series of software components and application programs, Wasabi enables low cost, ubiquitous, off-the-shelf PC server components that can be used in the creation of the most sophisticated networked storage appliances.
Wasabi offers the Storage Builder(R) line of highly-integrated software, with Wasabi Storage Builder for iSCSI and Storage Builder for NAS solutions developed to fit the specialized requirements of the small-to-medium business (SMB) market. These world-class software solutions enable OEMs, VARs and systems integrators to create IP-DAS, IP-SAN and NAS storage solutions. Wasabi also offers its own certified BSD-family operating system, Wasabi Certified(TM) BSD, and a full line of open source development tools.