Vizio sued by nonprofit for sharing code for open source software


  • Public license requires users to keep open source software accessible to the public
  • Vizio allegedly failed to share source code

(Reuters) – A New York-based non-profit group sued TV maker Vizio Inc in California state court to force it to share the source code of software it allegedly used in its TVs intelligent.

Vizio violated two public licenses by using and modifying open source software without making its source code available to the public, according to a complaint filed Tuesday in Orange County, Calif., By the Software Freedom Conservancy.

SFC, which advocates for developers of open source software projects, said in a statement that it was “the first legal case that focuses on the rights of individual consumers” as licensees. SFC’s sponsors include Google, Red Hat, Mozilla and others, according to its website.

Vizio, based in Irvine, Calif., Did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Richard Sanders of Aaron & Sanders and Sa’id Vakili of Vakili & Leus represent SFC.

According to the complaint, Vizio incorporated software covered by two general public license agreements into its SmartCast platform to stream content from services like Apple’s AirPlay and Google’s Chromecast to its TVs, but failed to render. its source code accessible to the public.

The software covered by the licenses is intended to be publicly available and modifiable, allowing developers to be “confident that their contributions can be used by anyone and will lead to further improvements”.

“Deep in their hearts is a simple matter,” SFC said. “Recipients of the licensed software have the right to use, review, modify, adapt, and improve the software as they see fit. In return, recipients must allow their licensees” to do likewise.

But Vizio has “taken full advantage of the rights granted by these agreements but refuses to let others enjoy the same rights,” says the complaint.

The group asked the court for an order compelling Vizio to share the code and did not seek damages.

An order for Vizio to share the source code “would benefit the public and advance the goals of software freedom” by allowing developers to better protect user data, improve accessibility and preserve “useful but obsolete functionality SFC said in the complaint.

The case is Software Freedom Conservancy Inc v. Vizio Inc, California State Superior Court, Orange County, No. 30-2021-01226723.

For SFC: Richard Sanders from Aaron & Sanders, Sa’id Vakili from Vakili & Leus.

Blake brittain

Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Contact him at [email protected]


Leave A Reply