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The problem: The application Stroget looks and behaves exactly like Minitube. Flavio (the creator of Minitube) and I suspect that someone took his work and used it without Flavio's permission. The reason for our suspicion:

  • Stroget looks and behaves exactly like Minitube 2.0
  • The only difference is the welcome text when you start the application. "Welcome to Minitube" has been replaced by "Welcome to Stroget".
  • This is how Minitube 2.0 looks like, this is how Stroget looks like.
  • Minitube and Stroget are available via the Ubuntu Software Center.
  • Please visit Minitube's forum for more information (I would post a link, but I am only allowed to post two).

My question therefore is:

  • How can we contact Canonical about this, in order to analyze the situation?

  • Is Canonical the contact person - who is the official contact for an issue like this?

Thank you for your time and effort.

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Minitube forum (where the issue has been discussed): flavio.tordini.org/forums/topic/flavio-stroget-vs-minitube –  Oranges10e May 20 '13 at 11:18
7  
Minitube is distributed under the GPL license, which allows others to modify and redistribute the sourcecode as long as they don't break the license. You'll have to look at the GPL and see if Stroget breaks any of the conditions. –  Timo May 20 '13 at 11:41
    
Oh, the freedom of open-source... –  Shiki May 20 '13 at 12:13
    
Emailed the OP of stroget - his reply: "stroget is bug fix of minitube and it provide portable version" –  fossfreedom May 21 '13 at 14:26

2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

First thing: This is up to the copyright holder to lodge any complaint. You can't do anything because it's (sincerely) none of your business.

If they feel there's a valid complaint, they can contact Canonical (see the bottom for a phone number). A DMCA notice is pointless because it's the wrong jurisdiction, but I'm sure they would listen to sense.

I would imagine the owner should also be taking other civil action against the other project if they feel there has been an infringement.


But as others have said, this is how open source works. If something doesn't work for you, GPL encourages you to fork it and fix it. The basic rules are you just don't use the same name but all that really depends on the license. That appears to be what has happened here... But similarly, this is for the owner to interpret.


Having seen Flavio's post, I'd like to make a few more comments:

  • Canonical should not be listing this as a proprietary download. You're right there.
  • Most non-opensourcerers might think blatent copying is evil but they've changed the name and they're working on your code just in their space. I can't see how people would get the two names confused either.
  • You can pull back fixes into your project from theirs. That's the beauty of GPL - even though they've added code, it needs to be the same license as the original.
  • However, there is a huge problem: Stroget has re-licensed your project as LGPL3. LGPL is more permissive than GPL so it's not compatible. They're breaking your license to them.

The relicensing is the only thing you can think to action here (IMO, but remember: IANAL) but it is a significant issue. Talk to the project leaders or contact the FSF.

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@Timo, Shiki, Oli: Thank you for the information! I appreciate it. I'll forward it to Mr. Flavio. The reason I asked was because Flavio and I were talking about it in his forum. He asked me for Ubuntu's contact details, so I thought I'd help out by asking around. Just to be clear: I never intended to lodge any complaint on this matter (since it's none of my business). Anyway, thanks guys! My question has been answered. Speed and quality on Askubuntu = excellent. –  Oranges10e May 20 '13 at 17:24
    
@belacqua By all means notify the owner but unless you're representing them in a legal capacity, you have no power. By trying to take action, you're just wasting the service provider's time (assuming you're trying to get something pulled) and they might even have recourse to countersue you, as would the "allegedly infringing" party. It's is a civil matter and it needs to be instigated by the correct people. –  Oli May 21 '13 at 22:34
    
@oli Sure ; I think we agree, other than the targets of emphasis. –  belacqua May 22 '13 at 15:54

I'd like to point out that I never talked about copyright infringement.

Of course that guy broke every single rule in open source etiquette by not giving back his "bug fixes", pretending "Stroget" is a new project while it doesn't contain any changes and basically behaving like he was the original author. Still the GPL allows it.

One minor issue is that the Software Center displays the "Proprietary" label.

I asked Canonical whether it is their policy to allow a renamed build of a package in their store. I asked if I could rebuild and rename Nautilus and get it accepted. I'm waiting for their decision.

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It's a bit more than a dodgy label, they've licensed their project as LGPL which is incompatible with your GPL license. They are in breach. I've added this and a few more responses to my answer. –  Oli May 21 '13 at 22:55

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