Russian police raid NGINX Moscow office over code ownership dispute

Last week, the Rambler Group filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against NGINX Inc., claiming full ownership of the Internet’s most popular Web server technology. Today, Russian police raided the moscow offices of NGINX, a subsidiary of F5 Networks, seizing equipment, taking away and questioning several employees. The Rambler Group is the parent company of rambler.ru, one of Russia’s largest search engines and Internet portals.

Russian police raid NGINX Moscow office over code ownership dispute

(Photo from Nginx, via ZDNet)

According to a copy of the search warrant posted on Twitter today, Rambler claims that Igor Sysoev developed NGINX when he was the company’s system administrator and that they were the reforest ers.

Sysoev created NGINX in the early 2000s and opened the source code in 2004. In 2009, it established NGINX, Inc., in the United States to provide deployment-related tools and support services.

The company is headquartered in San Francisco but also has offices in places such as Moscow. The source code for the NGINX server is still free and managed through the open source model.

Although a large proportion of the project’s main contributors are home-based employees, they remain firmly confident in the management of the project.

Russian police raid NGINX Moscow office over code ownership dispute

Sysoev has never denied that NGINX was built during Rambler’s time at the time of his work. In a 2012 interview, Sysoev claimed to have developed NGINX in his spare time, something Rambler didn’t even realize for years.

He said the server was originally deployed on Rate.ee and zvuki.ru sites, and Rambler only started using it after a colleague asked.

In February 2019, NGINX finally defeated Apache HTTPD to become the most widely deployed server on the Internet. NgINX has a market share of 38%, according to Netcraft’s December 2019 Web Server Survey.

In March 2019, F5 Networks, a provider of network security and network ingress to acquire NGINX Inc. for $670 million. 。

Russian police raid NGINX Moscow office over code ownership dispute

Today, however, an NGINX employee posted a copy of the search warrant on Twitter and said someone had been taken away to investigate. At the request of the police, the employee deleted the tweet.

Even so, other employees confirmed it. Two NGINX employees were detained during the raid, including co-founder and current chief technology officer Igor Sysoev and co-founder Maxim Konovalov, one employee said.

A spokesman for F5 Networks said the company was aware of the raid but was still gathering more details and could not comment further.

A spokesman for the Rambler Group declined to comment, citing his poor knowledge of English, but the media Kommersant and The Bell provided a Russian version of the statement confirming that they did file a copyright infringement complaint with NGINX on December 4.

Russian police raid NGINX Moscow office over code ownership dispute

Rambler stated that it had transferred its legal interest to Lynwood Investments CY Ltd, based in Cyprus, which claimed full ownership of NGINX and claimed to defend its interests through judicial means.

However, Leonid Volkov, chief of staff of Russian presidential candidate Alexei Navalny, criticized the raid and the legal action behind it, arguing that after 15 years, the law capable of filing a copyright infringement lawsuit had long since lapsed.

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