Zuken threatens the FreeRouting project

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Zuken threatens the FreeRouting project

Postby alfons » Mon Jun 09, 2014 6:10 am

In the attached letter my former employer Zuken claims, that my Freerouting software may violate the rights of their Active-45 software.
This is unjustified.

Since I lost interest in my Freerouting software several years ago and am now a pensioner,
and because future versions of Java will block unsigned web applications anyway,
I finally gave up and deleted my Freerouting web application, only to be left in peace from Zuken and their lawyers .
I think that is it, what Zuken may have been speculating for.

But what really worries me is, that now also the source code of FreeRouting may be affected,
which I opened several months ago under the GNU Public License.

In the following I give a short description of the situation Zuken is complaining about.

The Zuken Active-45 is a piece of software, which another Zuken staff member and I have ported from the Theda autorouter into
the Hot-Stage interactive manual push and shove router of Zuken.
The Theda autorouter was written by me in a predecessor company of Zuken.
The interactive push and shove router of Zuken was only able to handle orthogonal traces at that time.
That porting turned into a nightmare, but it succeeded at last after a very long time.
Originally it was planned to port the complete 45-degree capabilities of the Theda autorouter into the Zuken autorouter.
But that was unthinkable considering the difficulties we had with porting just the simple interactive router capabilities.

That happened shortly before Zuken dismissed me about 13 years ago.

The interactive push and shove routing in the Freerouting software is just a simple byproduct of its autorouter.
Because it works also for free angle traces, it is much more complicated than the 45-degree routing algorithms we ported at Zuken.
Writing a completely numerical stable free angle geometry package as I did in Freerouting is quite a challenging task.
Of course the interactive Freerouting router can also snap to 45 degree and for this purpose I reimplemented in Java for performance reasons
some octagonal algorithms, which I had developed for the Theda autorouter a long time ago.
All in all the code parts of pure 45-degree push and shove routing algorithms must be far less than 1% of the complete Freerouting code.

Besides that Zuken´s Hot-Stage was written completely in plain C, as far as I remember.
I wonder how there can occur copyright infringement at all between source code written in a language with no object orientated capabilities like C, and source code written in a pure object orientated language like Java.
Attachments
ZukenLawyer.zip
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Re: Zuken threatens the FreeRouting project

Postby alfons » Fri Jun 13, 2014 6:22 am

On June 12 I wrote the following letter to the Free Software Foundation:

Dear FSF,

In the attached letter my former employer Zuken accuses me of copyright
infringement of their Active-45 Software,which is unjustified.

Because I am no more working on my Freerouting software since several
years and am now a pensioner,
it will be easiest for me to give up and remove the Freerouting website
from the Internet, to avoid a lawsuite.
I think that is it, what Zuken may be speculating for, just bluffing me
out.

But then also the source code of my FreeRouting project,
which I opened several months ago under the GPLv3, will get lost to the
public.
That's what really worries me.

An Internet friend told me, that transferring the copyright of the
sources of Freerouting to the FSF may save the situation.
Then the FSF would protect them from unjustified copyright attacks by
Zuken.

I hereby ask you, if that is true and if the FSF would accept the offer
of the copyright of my Freerouting sources.

The Freerouting project contains 7 years of work and 20 years of
Printed Circuit Board Autorouter experience by me.

More information as well as the Freerouting source code and
documentation can be found in the last 2 topics of
the News Forum at index.php.
There is also a discussion about the situation at
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/kic ... ages/18109.

Kind regards,

Alfons
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Re: Zuken threatens the FreeRouting project

Postby alfons » Fri Jun 13, 2014 7:22 am

In the following E-mail I asked the Zuken lawyers on June 10 to be more specific
in their copyright infringement claim:

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,

Meine Internetfreunde sagten mir, dass es nicht reicht, eine
Urheberrechtsverletzung allgemein zu behaupten,
sondern dass dabei konkrete Stellen im Sourcecode angegeben werden
müssen, wo eine solche Verletzung vorliegen soll.
Hiermit fordere ich Sie auf, mir einige solche konkreten Stellen zu
benennen.

Hochachtungsvoll

Alfons Wirtz
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Re: Zuken threatens the FreeRouting project

Postby alfons » Fri Jun 13, 2014 6:14 pm

I just received the following disappointing answer from the Free Software Foundation.
Because even the FSF does not help me and I am a retired old man, who has no more nerves to stand the attacks of the lawyers of a big company,
I finally gave up and removed the Router application from my Freerouting website.
Sorry, that I could not save the Freerouting project for the public from the unjustified attacks of Zuken.


Thank you for your time.

> [wirtzalfons@aol.com - Thu Jun 12 02:41:44 2014]:
>
> Dear FSF,
>
> In the attached letter my former employer Zuken accuses me of
> copyright
> infringement of their Active-45 Software,
> which is unjustified.
>
> Because I am no more working on my Freerouting software since several
> years and am now a pensioner,
> it will be easiest for me to give up and remove the Freerouting
> website
> from the Internet, to avoid a lawsuite.
> I think that is it, what Zuken may be speculating for, just bluffing
> me
> out.
>
> But then also the source code of my FreeRouting project,
> which I opened several months ago under the GPLv3, will get lost to
> the
> public.
> That's what really worries me.
>
> An Internet friend told me, that transferring the copyright of the
> sources of
> Freerouting to the FSF may save the situation.
> Then the FSF would protect them from unjustified copyright attacks by
> Zuken.
>
> I hereby ask you, if that is true and if the FSF would accept the
> offer
> of the copyright of my Freerouting sources.

The FSF accepts copyright assignment on software that is becoming a part
of the GNU Project. We do this so as to be able to enforce the license
on the work against GPL violators, not to defend against claims that the
work itself infringes on another work. We have no expertise in handling
such cases, and no resources to deal with such claims either. Our
assignment contract actually requires that the contributor warrant that
there is no claim of infringement against the work, and requires the
contributor to indemnify the FSF in the event that a claim is made. In
short, we could not accept assignment. I'm sorry we couldn't be of more
help, but unfortunately it is beyond the scope of the services that we
provide.
>
> The Freerouting project contains 7 years of work and 20 years of
> Printed Circuit Board Autorouter experience by me.
>
> More information as well as the Freerouting source code and
> documentation can be found in the last 2 topics of
> the News Forum at index.php.
> There is also a discussion about the situation at
> https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/kicad-
> users/conversations/messages/18109.
>
> Kind regards,
>
> Alfons
>
> Alfons Wirtz
> Haidelweg 19a
> 81241 München (Germany)
>
> Tel: 004989 8201671
> Homepage : http://www.AlfonsWirtz.de
>
>
--
Sincerely,

Donald R. Robertson, III, J.D.
Copyright & Licensing Associate
Free Software Foundation
51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor
Boston, MA 02110, USA
Phone +1-617-542-5942
Fax +1-617-542-2652
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Re: Zuken threatens the FreeRouting project

Postby mballest » Mon Jun 16, 2014 12:50 am

Noooooo!!

Freerouting program is the best for everybody in Electronic CAD.

It gives me a enarmous pain that this project is over because a company like Zuken, with more power, say stupid things now.

I used Freerouting since 4 years.
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Re: Zuken threatens the FreeRouting project

Postby Elco » Mon Jun 16, 2014 9:54 am

There is enough information and code to build a local solution.
It would be useful if a someone can create an Executable file for Windows and one for Linux that can be installed as a local application, set up to read the CAD generated DSN file.
There are many places in the internet to post such a solution.

There will always be code talibans like Zuken that claim ownership because they cannot deal with the concept of public domain software, just stay away from their products and services.
Copyright and patent laws paid for by big industry are the cause of all this.

Elco.
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Re: Zuken threatens the FreeRouting project

Postby gilado » Mon Jun 16, 2014 10:49 am

I admire your standing up against the company, the time and effort spent on the project sharing years of your personal experience. I think the better way of approaching this issue is becoming an advisor for similar projects and writing a book on autorouter design illustrating it with pseudo code. It will even be better if you write it for the novice who could using your advice, build it from scratch. If you post the book for the comunity no one can claim anything other than giving you credit. It will take considerably less time, effort and frustration than fighting a legal battel with Zuken. You will certainly win this one. KiCad project lacks a good compiled autorouter attached to it I'm pretty sure you can help there and that the community will be interested in your callaboration as part of the project. As such your contribution will be defendable and your creativity will have many new students. No one on earth can tell you what to do, or how to spend your spare time.
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Re: Zuken threatens the FreeRouting project

Postby Ira » Tue Jun 17, 2014 6:51 pm

Elco wrote:There is enough information and code to build a local solution.
It would be useful if a someone can create an Executable file for Windows and one for Linux that can be installed as a local application, set up to read the CAD generated DSN file.
There are many places in the internet to post such a solution.

There will always be code talibans like Zuken that claim ownership because they cannot deal with the concept of public domain software, just stay away from their products and services.
Copyright and patent laws paid for by big industry are the cause of all this.

Elco.


Can someone please give me the names of the source files?

Thanks -
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Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2009 9:00 pm

Re: Zuken threatens the FreeRouting project

Postby alfons » Fri Jun 20, 2014 5:56 am

Yesterday I received the following message from the president of the FSF Richard Stallman:

[[[ To any NSA and FBI agents reading my email: please consider ]]]
[[[ whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies, ]]]
[[[ foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden's example. ]]]

I saw about your case a couple of days ago.

The Free Software Foundation will pay Till Jaeger,
a German Lawyer, to look at your case and give you advice.
If you wish.

I hope this isn't too late.

--
Dr Richard Stallman
President, Free Software Foundation
51 Franklin St
Boston MA 02110
USA
http://www.fsf.org http://www.gnu.org
Skype: No way! That's nonfree (freedom-denying) software.
Use Ekiga or an ordinary phone call.


I have posted the following answer:


Dear Sirs,

because I have lost interest in my Freerouting software completely
several years ago and am now retired,
I finally gave up and fulfilled Zuken´s request, although it is not
justified, just to be left in peace by Zuken and their lawyers.
The whole affair simply has cost me already too many nerves.
I am even no more interested in the copyright of my sources.
That is it, what Zuken may have been speculating for.

But because the Freerouting software is very valuable for the public,
and now open source,
it is in my opinion the business of the public to defend it against the
unjustified attacks of Zuken.

If somebody else, who takes action to defend the Freerouting sources
for the public, will get attacked by Zuken´s unjustified copyright
claims,
I will do my best to support him, and will of course be available as a
witness against Zuken in court if necessary.

Kind regards,

Alfons Wirtz
Haidelweg 19a
81241 München (Germany)
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Re: Zuken threatens the FreeRouting project

Postby alfons » Sat Jun 21, 2014 3:34 pm

I have just sent an E-mail to the FSF lawyer Till Jäger to ask him about his assessment of the Freerouting situation.
After I have bowed to the demands of Zuken for the time being, it should easy for me to go on fighting with such a great help.
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