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FSF Licensing & Complaince

by Joshua Gay Contributions Published on Aug 01, 2012 12:00 PM
Licensing: Copyright, Compliance, Outreach, and Education.

The Compliance Lab has been an informal activity of the FSF since 1992 and was formalized in December 2001. We handle all licensing-related issues for FSF. We serve the free software community by providing the public with a "knowledge infrastructure" surrounding the GNU GPL and free software licensing, and enforcing the license on FSF-copyrighted software.

What We Do

Our biggest task is educating users and developers working with free software about our licenses and related issues. We offer a number of resources to provide this information, from essays and FAQs to speeches and seminars. If none of that helps, we'll be happy to answer your question via e-mail. Learn more about free software licensing.

In order to stay effective, a license must be enforced. The FSF holds the copyrights for many popular free software programs, such as GCC and glibc, and we enforce those licenses. We investigate all reports we receive about free software license violations according to the Principles of Community-Oriented GPL Enforcement, and negotiate with violators to bring them into full compliance. Learn more about our compliance work.

While license education and enforcement are the focus of our efforts, we deal with all issues related to free software licensing. We help coordinate the license revision process, evaluate requests for license exceptions, and more.

GPLv3 Action

Have you seen news reports that mischaracterize GPLv3? Or forum posts that spread incorrect information? Help us fight it! We can't address all of these ourselves, but with the community's help, we can do a lot to help people talk about GPLv3 accurately. Let us know what you find, too—we may try to address it ourselves one way or another, or perhaps use it to improve our GPL FAQ.

Would you like to have someone speak to your organization about GPLv3 or other GNU licensing issues? Please contact us, we are happy to help!

Who We Are

The Compliance Lab relies upon the efforts of many people, from volunteers pitching in a few hours a week to full-time attorneys. If you're interested, we'd love to have your help. Learn more about the Compliance Lab team.

Do you have any questions or comments about the Compliance Lab? Feel free to contact us.

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