Six more companies have joined Red Hat, Facebook, Google and IBM (after the lead of Linux Foundation) to provide a cure period for GPL2 and LGPL2.1 violations. This initiative was originally announced in November 2017. See the press release from Red Hat.
It’s great to see momentum for this effort, which enables licensors and licensees to work out GPL and LGPL violations amicably.
My post on the initial announcement is here.
Open source has nearly reached the drinking age. According to OSI, the term “open source” was created at a strategy session on February 3rd, 1998. Happy birthday!
Under pressure from open source advocates, the Israeli Information and Communications Technology Authority recently shared its first open source software, extensions made by the ICT Authority to the CKAN data portal platform to help make the platform usable in Hebrew. The case did not involve formal enforcement of AGPL, but resulted in a code release.
For more details, see the Momentum post.
I recently was interviewed by Ben Hancock for an episode of the Unprecedented podcast on Law.com.
Software Freedom Conservancy filed a motion for summary judgement in response to SFLC’s petition to cancel Software Freedom Conservancy’s trademark (noted previously here). The motion is based on various grounds, but the most interesting part of the motion lays out the unclean-hands argument.
The motion states, “SFLC chose the name “Sotware Freedom Conservancy” and filed the legal documents forming the Software Freedom Conservancy, Inc. It then proceeded to provide Conservancy with legal services, including trademark services.”
The motion goes on to say:
After the SFLC filed this action Moglen stated in an interview with the newspaper The Register that he has no problem with the Conservancy name. The Register reports: “ ‘I have been trying for three years to have a conversation about some differences with some former employees,’ …he said that any outcome he could imagine that involves [Conservancy] would have the organization ‘continue to exist and flourish under its existing name.’”… These words, spoken by the Executive Director of the petitioner after it filed the petition to cancel the registration of the Conservancy mark, illustrate that the petition was filed, not because there is any confusion at all, but in an abuse of this legal process, wasting the Board’s time and resources, solely to inflict pain on former SFLC employees by attacking the organization that they are passionate about.
Once can only observe with awe and dismay as this internecine battle plays out.
A guide entitled Starting an Open Source Project was released by the Linux Foundation, with contributions from open source advocates at Facebook, Samsung Research America, Capital One and Autodesk. The guide describes business and technical considerations for businesses contemplating an open source code release, with a handy checklist at the end.
Today, Red Hat and several other major technology companies released a commitment to afford GPLv3-style cure terms to GPLv2 violations, in an effort to “provide greater predictability to users of open source software.”
Red Hat’s pledge comes on the heels of a community enforcement pledge by the Linux kernel developers, reported here,which was in turn preceded by the SFC/FSF community enforcement guidelines.
These commitments represent a consistent community effort to distance enforcers (or potential enforcers) — like Software Freedom Conservancy, the Linux Foundation, and other technology companies — from the kind of copyright trolls reported here. They also represent an effort to resolve the legal questions raised by lack of an express cure provision in GPLv2, and other open source licenses.
UPDATE: Bruce Perens wrote an interesting FAQ on this.