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New! Contributor's Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) guide

by Craig Topham Contributions Published on Jul 09, 2021 04:05 PM

Today, we're happy to announce the publication of our Contributor's Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) guide. The guide is meant to help contributors to Free Software Foundation (FSF) copyrighted packages better understand our copyright assignment program.

Copyleft licenses like the GNU General Public License rely on copyright law in order to ensure that free software remains free. The tools that copyright law provides enable the copyright holder on a work to make sure that the work is always distributed in a way that enables users to run, edit, share, and contribute to their modifications of the work. When a license violator fails to live up to these standards, only the copyright holder is able to use the powers granted by copyright law in order to enforce the terms of the license on the code. For over thirty-five years, the FSF has handled license enforcement for many important GNU Project packages. In order to put us in the best position to do that enforcement work, we require contributors on FSF-copyrighted packages to assign their copyright to the FSF.

Thousands of contributors have happily made such assignments over the years, but often have questions about the process or what assignment means. The FSF's Licensing & Compliance Lab created this FAQ so we could collect the answers to the most common questions in order to help contributors better understand the system and keep the program running smoothly.

This is just the start of the next steps in improving our assignment program. We will continue to build this FAQ over time, so if you have a question not covered here, please let us know at

More ways you can help the FSF's Licensing & Compliance Lab:

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