MPAA Forced to Comply with GPL

In an awesome bit of irony, the MPAA was forced to comply with the GPL.  The MPAA had created a toolkit for universities to use to spy on their students.  Basically, it was a piece of spyware that the universities could install on their network.  The software allowed them to check to see if the students were illegally sharing or downloading movies.  The toolkit was based off Xubuntu, a port of Ubuntu, a distribution of Linux a free and open source operating system released under the GNU General Public License (GPL).  The GPL requires that any changes made to the source code of GPL’d software be made available along with the compiled software.  The MPAA, obviously not wanting some nosy student to figure out how their toolkit works, decided not to make the source available.

Not being happy with this, Ubuntu developer Matthew Garrett decided to contact the MPAA and ask them to remove the link to the toolkit or make the source code available to be in compliance with the GPL.  After several attempts to contact the MPAA without response, he contacted their ISP, explained the issue, and had the link removed.  The University Toolkit site now no longer displays a link for the toolkit.  Only the links for the usage guides remain.

Discussion at Boing Boing, Slashdot, and Gizmodo

Leave a Reply