all hell broke loose yesterday: i got a phone call yesterday by a nice lady, which presented herself as a former advocate of apple. she told me that the objective of her team was to find copyright and patent violations and therefore she called me:
obviously i did something wrong by starting such a project as cheese, which is a pure clone of photo booth. this would violate the us patent IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: computer software used for image editing, image acquisition, and image viewing, which was filed on february the 28th 2006 and as gnome is registered and known as an organization of the usa, this patent would be applicable.
i thought, that such patents would just apply, if there is some commercial interest behind it, but she knew it better: as i created cheese in the summer of code program, i "worked" for google, which makes everything a commercial project, even if now i "probably" do not get any money. in addition the full us patent law applies, as i a) worked for google in the usa for the summer of code program and b) cheese is now included in gnome, which is an organization registered in the usa.
she also told me, that of course there are similar applications like photo booth, but cheese acts as a clone and therefore an illegal copy because it works on intel based macs and therefore would be a competitor of photo booth. the fact, that cheese just runs on linux on the intel based macs was worthless by her.
so it looks pretty bad for me now.. i got a deadline of 5 work days to remove cheese code and binary versions from all places i have access to (probably svn.gnome.org, ftp.gnome.org, ...).
i already contacted a lawyer, which thinks he can help me, but of course it is david against goliath...
so, if you know a way out of this, please contact me!