Red Hat employee Matthew Garrett says he has written to the US Customs about the fact that Fusion Garage, the maker of the Joojoo tablet, has not provided him with the source code for the operating system that runs the device.
Garrett sent the letter based on advice offered by former Linux Journal publisher Don Marti on a web forum.
Marti wrote: "If you're a copyright holder, and the manufacturer exports to the USA, you can start an administrative proceeding with the US Customs Service. It looks much easier and less expensive than a court case.
"You don't get money damages, but the shipment doesn't get through Customs. The importer has to ship it back, destroy it, or turn it over to the copyright holder."
Garrett has contributed code to the kernel and thus qualifies as a copyright holder.
The kernel is released under the General Public Licence (version 2) and if anyone makes changes to the code and distributes it, then source has to be provided either along with the binary or else on request.