He Who Must Not Be Named, is Named

The Netfilter project posted this week that it “regrets to have to suspend its core team member Patrick McHardy” due to allegations regarding “the style of his license enforcement activities on parts of the netfilter software he wrote.” The project did not disclose the allegations or their targets. The project pointed out that it “does not have first-hand evidence” but cited “various trusted sources.”

The SFC then made a stronger statement connecting the dots between its promulgation of community enforcement guidelines, the adoption of those guidelines by the Netfilter project, and the subsequent suspension of McHardy.

The issue of “copyright trolling” to enforce open source licenses has long been a source of concern by technology vendors, but also by organizations like SFC that want to preserve the credibility and mission of enforcement actions. However, licenses like GPL are designed to give authors the power to bring copyright claims for non-compliance, and copyright law is a sharp sword. So those who seek to enforce for pecuniary gain will always have the legal right to do so, and community norms may not convince them to forego those rights.

Author: heatherjmeeker

Technology licensing lawyer, drummer, dancer

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