No actual case going on here, just a question for my general understanding. Lets say there is a project release under a GPL license, or any other open source license. Given that most open source is available internationally, where does a case have to be made in case of violation of such a license?

  1. The country of the project owner?
  2. The country where the code is hosted?
  3. The country of the accuser? (can be any contributor, I believe)
  4. The country of the offender?

For example, I live and run a software company in Romania, EU. And we release GPL-ed software. Someone violates the license in either:

  1. Inside the EU, lets say Germany;
  2. United States;
  3. Any other country, like India;

Note that this can be also in the reverse, so I (accidentally) violate a GPL license from any other country. Where would I have to defend myself?

Just some practical thought I'm having:

  • A lawsuit in Romania -> There is no "claim" culture like in the US. At best the accuser can obtain a couple of thousand Euro. Any document submitted to court has to be in Romanian. Romanian law is a mess. So not worth the effort.
  • A lawsuit in EU member state -> Perhaps this would need to be resolved through an European court. Ouch, very high legal costs.
  • A lawsuit in the US -> High claim culture, high legal costs. I don't imagine a non-US citizen can be subpoenaed from a foreign country.
  • A lawsuit in any other country -> The proceedings will be in a foreign language, with foreign law. Hard to understand and most probably a nightmare.
  • Many countries around the world still have a corrupt legal system, as a foreigner you'll most probably loose.