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FSF Licensing & Compliance Team

by Joshua Gay Contributions Published on Feb 10, 2005 04:06 PM
For over 20 years the FSF Licensing & Compliance Lab has been the preeminent resource of free licensing for free software developers.

Education & Support

We have a number of online resources as well as community-based and paid support.

See our licensing recommendations, analysis, and FAQ

Learn why we must put an end to software patents:

I must say that the vast majority of my questions have been answered by the thorough FAQs included around the FSF website. I needed them, for example, when I helped someone correctly GPL their software in under 10 minutes in time for a competition deadline! Thank you for all the resources you already provide.

Keep up to date with the latest licensing issues by visiting our License and Compliance blog, or subscribe to the Licensing and Compliance Blog RSS feed RSS
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Have a question that you couldn’t find the answer to? For general free software licensing questions please email licensing@fsf.org. And of course, we would love any feedback you can provide -- good or bad! Our team of licensing volunteers are committed to answering questions and providing quality educational resources to the free software community. We also offer paid support to proprietary software developers.

Copyright & Compliance

  • The Free Software Foundation holds the copyright to many GNU packages, such as GCC and GNU Emacs. When hackers contribute to these projects, we ask that they assign their copyright to enable us to enforce the license. For questions about assigning to the FSF, please contact us at assign@gnu.org.
  • Free software is everywhere these days, inside our computers, phones, and even televisions. With so much free software being distributed every day, we have to remain vigilant against potential violations. You can help to make sure that free software is always free by reporting violations to our compliance lab.
  • The FSF can only enforce the license on works to which we hold the copyright, but we can still help bring about compliance even when the copyright lies elsewhere. If you need help with enforcement, please don’t hesitate to contact us at license-violation@gnu.org

Verification & Certification

  • Fully free GNU/Linux Distributions. These distributions meet our guidelines for a fully free distro, and are fully committed to keeping their distributions free.
  • You can help keep those distributions free and earn a GNU Buck by filing a bug regarding a licensing issue in one of our endorsed distributions and sending an email to report-nonfree@fsf.org.
  • The Free Software Directory is our community curated listing of over 6500 free software packages. A great resource for finding and promoting software that respects its users.
  • Respects Your Freedom Hardware certification program
  • Looking to buy hardware that works well with free software? Check out h-node, a community run project to catalog how well different pieces of hardware work with fully free software.
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