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Introducing our new copyright and licensing associate

by Donald Robertson III Contributions Published on Jun 12, 2012 06:15 PM
Donald Robertson, III is the new copyright and licensing associate at the FSF.

My time at the Free Software Foundation over the past year and a half has been split between handling copyright assignments and running general office operations. Handling contracts with large corporations and shipping packages of stickers and t-shirts was always sort of an odd pairing for me. This was never an ideal situation, but rather the result of us trying to do as much as we could with our resources. During our winter fundraiser this past year, we asked you to help us do more. Happily, the community took up this challenge and entrusted us with more resources to better aid free software.

After the outpouring of support that we received, I am happy to announce my new role at the FSF as the copyright & and licensing associate. I'll be continuing to handle the contracts our contributors use to assign code to the FSF, but will also be working closely with Joshua Gay in handling licensing compliance and education issues.

What I am most excited about is our expanded ability to investigate the GPL violation reports we receive and help confirmed violators fix their mistakes. The usual compliance issue is generally a case where the distributor simply did not know what they had to do to comply with the license. As free software has had continued success over the years in finding its way into the programs and devices we all use every day, keeping up with the amount of compliance education work that could be done was a herculean task for just one compliance engineer.

That we now have the resources to handle more of the increased flow of programs and devices that depend on free software is an accomplishment that can be directly attributed to our supporters. You have put the FSF and the free software community in a much better position to ensure that free software always remains free.

Looking into the near future, in addition to investigating GPL violations reported to us, I'm excited about revamping some of our online materials to make understanding free software licensing and philosophy that much easier. Thank you all for this great opportunity that you have given me, and happy hacking!

You can contact me at, and you can keep up with updates from the licensing team by subscribing to Support our work by making a donation or joining as a member.

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