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You are here: Home FSF News Software Freedom Conservancy and Free Software Foundation announce copyleft.org

Software Freedom Conservancy and Free Software Foundation announce copyleft.org

by Free Software Foundation Contributions Published on Nov 07, 2014 11:03 AM
This new site will not only provide a venue for those who constantly update and improve the Comprehensive Tutorial, but is also now home to a collaborative community to share and improve information about copyleft licenses, especially the GNU General Public License (GPL), and best compliance practices.

BOSTON, Massachusetts, USA -- Friday, November 7, 2014 -- Software Freedom Conservancy and the Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announce an ongoing public project that began in early 2014: Copyleft and the GNU General Public License: A Comprehensive Tutorial and Guide, and the publication of that project in its new home on the Internet at copyleft.org. This new site will not only provide a venue for those who constantly update and improve the Comprehensive Tutorial, but is also now home to a collaborative community to share and improve information about copyleft licenses, especially the GNU General Public License (GPL), and best compliance practices.

Bradley M. Kuhn, President and Distinguished Technologist of Software Freedom Conservancy and member of FSF's Board of Directors, currently serves as editor-in-chief of the project. The text has already grown to 100 pages discussing all aspects of copyleft -- including policy motivations, detailed study of the license texts, and compliance issues. This tutorial was initially constructed from materials that Kuhn developed on a semi-regular basis over the last eleven years. Kuhn merged this material, along with other material regarding the GPL published by the FSF, into a single, coherent volume, and released it publicly for the benefit of all users of free software.

Today, Conservancy announces a specific, new contribution: an additional chapter to the Case Studies in GPL Enforcement section of the tutorial. This new chapter, co-written by Kuhn and Conservancy's compliance engineer, Denver Gingerich, discusses in detail the analysis of a complete, corresponding source (CCS) release for a real-world electronics product, and describes the process that Conservancy and the FSF use to determine whether a CCS candidate complies with the requirements of the GPL. The CCS analyzed is for ThinkPenguin's TPE-NWIFIROUTER wireless router, which the FSF recently awarded Respects Your Freedom (RYF) certification.

The copyleft guide itself is distributed under the terms of a free copyleft license, the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license. Kuhn, who hopes the initial release and this subsequent announcement will inspire others to contribute to the text, said, "information about copyleft -- such as why it exists, how it works, and how to comply -- should be freely available and modifiable, just as all generally useful technical information should. I am delighted to impart my experience with copyleft freely. I hope, however, that other key thinkers in the field of copyleft will contribute to help produce the best reference documentation on copyleft available."

Particularly useful are the substantial contributions already made to the guide from the FSF itself. As the author, primary interpreter, and ultimate authority on the GPL, the FSF is in a unique position to provide insights into understanding free software licensing. While the guide as a living text will not automatically reflect official FSF positions, the FSF has already approved and published one version for use at its Seminar on GPL Enforcement and Legal Ethics in March 2014. "Participants at our licensing seminar in March commented positively on the high quality of the teaching materials, including the comprehensive guide to GPL compliance. We look forward to collaborating with the copyleft.org community to continually improve this resource, and we will periodically review particular versions for FSF endorsement and publication," said FSF's executive director John Sullivan.

Enthusiastic new contributors can get immediately involved by visiting and editing the main wiki on copyleft.org, or by submitting merge requests on copyleft.org's gitorious site for the guide, or by joining the project mailing list and IRC channel.

copyleft.org welcomes all contributors. The editors have already incorporated other freely licensed documents about GPL and compliance with copyleft licenses -- thus providing a central location for all such works. Furthermore, the project continues to recruit contributors who have knowledge about other copyleft licenses besides the FSF's GPL family. In particular, Mike Linksvayer, member of Conservancy's board of directors, has agreed to lead the drafting on a section about Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike licenses to mirror the ample text already available on GPL. "I'm glad to bring my knowledge about the Creative Commons copyleft licenses as a contribution to improve further this excellent tutorial text, and I hope that copyleft.org as a whole can more generally become a central location to collect interesting ideas about copyleft policy," said Linksvayer.

About copyleft.org

copyleft.org is a collaborative project to create and disseminate useful information, tutorial material, and new policy ideas regarding all forms of copyleft licensing. Its primary project is currently a comprehensive tutorial and guide, which describes the policy motivations of copyleft licensing, presents a detailed analysis of the text of various copyleft licenses, and gives examples and case studies of copyleft compliance situations.

About the Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software -- particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants -- and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at fsf.org and gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at https://donate.fsf.org. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.

About Software Freedom Conservancy

Software Freedom Conservancy is a not-for-profit organization that promotes, improves, develops and defends Free, Libre and Open Source software projects. Conservancy is home to more than thirty software projects, each supported by a dedicated community of volunteers, developers and users. Conservancy's projects include some of the most widely used software systems in the world across many application areas, including educational software deployed in schools around the globe, embedded software systems deployed in most consumer electronic devices, distributed version control developer tools, integrated library services systems, and widely used graphics and art programs. A full list of Conservancy's member projects is available. Conservancy provides these projects with the necessary infrastructure and not-for-profit support services to enable each project's communities to focus on what they do best: creating innovative software and advancing computing for the public's benefit.

Media Contacts

Joshua Gay
Licensing & Compliance Manager
Free Software Foundation
+1 (617) 542 5942
licensing@fsf.org

Karen M. Sandler
Executive Director
Software Freedom Conservancy
+1 (212) 461-3245
info@sfconservancy.org

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