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Skype Founders File Copyright Suit Against eBay 107

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the leggo-my-eggo dept.
Saif writes to let us know that Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis, the founders of Skype, have filed a copyright suit against eBay for altering and sharing the peer-to-peer source code behind the calling service. The founders managed to maintain ownership of the source and licensed it to eBay in their 2005 deal and are now seeking an injunction and statutory damages which could total more than $75 million per day. "Mr. Zennstrom and Mr. Friis have developed a reputation for litigiousness in some legal circles. They filed three separate lawsuits against Pamela Colburn, an investment banker who represented them in the original sale of Skype, in the United States, the Netherlands and Britain. In May, a British judge dismissed the case and said the two men's reason for pursuing the matter in his country 'remains inexplicable.' The buyers of Skype have not publicly addressed the founders' lawsuit against eBay in Britain or their potential legal liability."
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Skype Founders File Copyright Suit Against eBay

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  • Re:Basically (Score:5, Informative)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Friday September 18, 2009 @03:52PM (#29470635) Journal

    My question - how do they know the source doe was altered?

    You dont need the source code to see changes. Assembly code is always available via debugger like ollydbg or others. Also, these guys are the ones who created kazaa/fasttrack and skype's algorithm, they probably have the technical intelligence to check it themself too or just hire someone to do it.

    Its pretty hard, one could say almost impossible, to hide the algorithm changes since all the code is available as assembly.

    This is just about eBay's stupidity on the point of purchase, because they didnt buy the whole thing.

  • Re:Basically (Score:5, Informative)

    by coolsnowmen (695297) on Friday September 18, 2009 @05:22PM (#29471683)

    You are probably right about the originators being able to tell. I should have quoted what is different about this animal.

    When you said, "Assembly code is always available via debugger like ollydbg or others."

    I thought to myself: yeah, for my programs, but skype is a different animal.

    But if you already know this, then I can only hope someone else on /. found it interesting (I know I did when I first read it).

  • Not exactly ... (Score:3, Informative)

    by NotBornYesterday (1093817) * on Friday September 18, 2009 @08:18PM (#29473073) Journal
    Another lawsuit [washingtonpost.com] revealed an interesting piece of information that will likely impact these proceedings:

    What's most interesting about the lawsuit is a single disclosure early in the lawsuit complaint. Not only does Skype not own the core P2P technology underlying the service, but they don't even have access to the source code (emphasis added):

    A source code version of the GI Software is licenced by Joltid to Joost, allowing Joost to be the first company to successfully deliver television and other video content in real-time over a peer-to-peer network. An executable-only object code form of the GI Software was licensed by Loltid to Skype, a well-known Internet-based company that provides users throughout the world wiht free or low-cost telephone services over the Internet. Skype did not obtain a license to the GI Software source code, however, and the license it did obtain was terminated based on SKype's breaches of the license agreement.

    I don't know enough of either suit to definitively make heads or tails out of it, but it appears that the code Skype is suing eBay over may not even be theirs to begin with.

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