Nginx's Moscow office was raided today by police after the ownership of the popular web server's source code was disputed.
We understand the cops showed up after Russian company Rambler Group formally complained it owned the code, and that Nginx was thus infringing its rights, highlighting the country's rather interesting approach to intellectual property. Tweets also appeared detailing the swoop:
Seems like Rambler filled copyright claim to @isysoev regarding @nginx, nginx office under police raid (unconfirmed). Originally posted by @igorippolitov , but somebody asked him to remove his post. pic.twitter.com/76mBNtV31G— Anton Nesterov (@AntNesterov) December 12, 2019
Nginx, which is today headquartered in San Francisco, USA, and operates as a subsidiary of American tech giant F5 Networks, did not return a request for comment. However, F5 told us:
Earlier today, Russian police came to the Nginx Moscow office. We are still gathering the facts and as such we have no further comments to make at this time.
In the cross-hairs of the source code copyright claim is Nginx creator Igor Sysoev, who was an employee of Rambler in the 2000s, and at the time wrote the code for what would become the open-source Nginx web server and proxy platform. He claims he wrote the software in his spare time, and thus it belongs to him, though Rambler appears to disagree and has claimed ownership of the blueprints.
F5 Networks buys into open source, hands over $670m for Nginx! Double Nginx! Infinity Nginx!READ MORE
Nginx was started in 2002, released in 2004, and launched as its own company in 2011 after Sysoev left Rambler. It was acquired by F5 for $670m in March this year, a deal that seemingly encouraged Rambler to file its ownership claim in Russia on the software. Nginx is the most widely used web server software in the world – Netcraft confirms it.
According to a translated post from business publication The Bell, Rambler has confirmed the raid was related to its copyright claim, and the biz believes that, as Sysoev was on its payroll at the time, it owns the exclusive rights to the code.
"We believe that the rights to Nginx belong to the Rambler Internet Holding company, which is part of the Rambler Group," the translation reads. "Nginx is an official work, the development of which since the beginning of the 2000s in the framework of labor relations with Rambler was done by Igor Sysoev, therefore any use of this program without the consent of the Rambler Group is a violation of the exclusive right." ®