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Negotiating Compliance

by root Contributions Published on Feb 10, 2005 04:49 PM

It is important to note at the onset that the use of the word "negotiating" in no way means that the FSF will compromise the principles on which it is organized, namely the necessity of creating and keeping software free. But instead of confronting a violator immediately through the media or by legal action, experience has taught us that violators move quickly to compliance if we establish a constructive dialog.

We receive numerous violation reports each month. When we learn of a violation, we move to independently confirm its existence. Once we have established that there is in fact a violation we contact the violating party. We inform them that they are in violation of the GPL and that this has caused them to lose their right to distribute the software in question. We invite the party to enter into a discussion with us so that we can educate them as to how they can satisfy the requirements of the license. Generally, we have found that most parties were simply unaware of the violation and are quick to rectify the situation. Thus, a quiet initial contact is usually sufficient to resolve the problem. Another frequently occurring situation is when parties thought they were complying with GPL, and are pleased to follow advice on the correction of an error. Unfortunately, there have been other times when the violating party has not been as quick to concede to the requirements of the GPL. In these cases we do resort to other means, and the FSF has access to the expert legal counsel and the legal resources of the Software Freedom Law Center.

If you believe that you have come across a violation of the L/GPL please consult our checklist on how to report a violation.

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