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NGINX: Rambler Drops The Deal


The company said the legal issues would be dealt with in a civil court, but the case appears to be dead after a former executive rebutted Rambler's main argument over the weekend. Following backlash from open source and Russian communities, Russian internet company Rambler has said it will drop its lawsuit against NGINX Inc, the company behind the world's most popular web server. Instead, Rambler will pursue its claims to the NGINX source code in civil court.
Rambler spokesperson told ZDNet today. The decision was made Monday at a meeting of Rambler's board of directors. The meeting was called by Sberbank, one of Russia's largest banks and Rambler's largest shareholders, with a 46.5% stake in the company.

Rambler in the face of criticism

Sberbank called the meeting following hostile stances against Rambler from the Russian IT community. Some websites even organized a 30-minute power outage in support of the NGINX team.
The protests against Rambler come after the events of last week: Russian police raided the Moscow office of NGINX Inc., the company behind the NGINX web server. A shocking move, never seen before in a copyright dispute over an open-source project.
During the search, police arrested and questioned two of the founders of NGINX, including the original creator of the webserver, Igor Sysoev. The two founders of NGINX were released on the same day, but their smartphones were seized by Russian police.
The search took place after an investment firm acting under Rambler's authorization filed a criminal complaint rather than a civil action against NGINX. This complaint claimed that Rambler owned the NGINX project and the source code. The main argument made by the company was that Sysoev had developed the project while he was working for the company.
Following the search, the reaction to Rambler was pitiless, harsh, and expeditious, both internationally and in Russia. The whole court case, and its unusual escalation to a criminal investigation rather than a regular prosecution, made no sense to any third-party observers.
Many pointed to older interviews Sysoev gave to the media, where he repeatedly claimed that he created NGINX in his spare time and that Rambler was not even one of the first companies to adopt the server. Others pointed out that Rambler only filed the copyright infringement claim after F5 Networks acquired NGINX Inc. for $ 670 million, more than Rambler's total value.
Rambler has been accused of being simply motivated by greed: the company has never sought to assert its claims of ownership over the NGINX source code in the past 15 years.
Additionally, NGINX Inc. and Rambler have both made acquisitions, in which the issue of NGINX's ownership rights was never raised or viewed as an issue.
Even Sergey Vasiliev, CEO of the Rambler Group when NGINX was founded, expressed his dissatisfaction with his old company. In a Facebook post, Vasiliev barred a possible investigation by revealing that he and other members of Rambler's management had never been aware of Rambler's involvement on NGINX, refuting the company's claims. in the criminal complaint.

NGINX co-founder denounces financially motivated maneuver

After his release, Maxim Konovalov, the other founder of NGINX Inc arrested last week, called the whole affair an attempt at intimidation. He explains that Rambler never reached out to inquire about or express grievances about a potential copyright infringement prior to last week's search.
"The money [from the F5 Networks acquisition] has become palpable, and we think they want their share," Konovalov said in his interview. "It's a typical racket. It's that simple."
Rambler's internet rivals also haven't missed an opportunity to criticize the company. VK, Russia's largest social network, added a "Powered by Nginx" label to all of its pages, while its social media network Odnoklassniki promoted the hashtag #WeAreForOpenSource on its portal.
Grigory Bakunov, director of technology distribution at Yandex and head of the Yandex. Health service also posted a post in support of the open-source ecosystem and NGINX.

Rambler could continue in civil

All the negative media coverage ultimately forced Rambler to reassess his strategy on Monday. With Sberbank in the lead, the board of directors voted unanimously to withdraw from the NGINX affair.
First, the company voted to end its collaboration with Lynwood Investments, the company that investigated the potential NGINX rights violation on its behalf.
Second, Rambler also promised to contact law enforcement and withdraw the criminal complaint filed by Lynwood Investments. But Rambler doesn't want to give up completely. The company has thus expressed its willingness to pursue a civil action aimed at asserting possible rights to the NGINX code. In the modern world, situations of intellectual property rights litigation are ubiquitous, and it is natural for tech companies to preserve their rights, but these issues must be resolved within the framework of civil law,” said Lev Khasis, first vice-chairman of the management board of Sberbank, and chairman of the board of directors of Rambler.
“We have been in contact with the founders of Nginx for several days and will attempt to resolve this issue,” Khasis added. "Taking this opportunity, I would like to stress that Rambler and Sberbank fully support the unanimous position of the Russian tech community regarding open source solutions."