Conservancy’s Coordinated Compliance Efforts

Post Syndicated from Bradley M. Kuhn original http://ebb.org/bkuhn/blog/2012/05/29/compliance.html

As most readers might have guessed, my work
at Software Freedom Conservancy
has been so demanding in the last few months that I’ve been unable to
blog, although I have kept up (along with my
co-host Karen Sandler) releasing new
episodes of the Free as in
Freedom
oggcast
.

Today, Karen and I released
a special episode of
FaiF
(which is merely special because it was released during a
week that we don’t normally release a show). In it, Karen and I
discuss in
detail Conservancy’s
announcement today of its new coordinated compliance program
that
includes many copyright holders and projects.

This new program is an outgrowth of the debate that happened over the
last few months regarding
Conservancy’s GPL
compliance efforts. Specifically, I noticed that, buried in the
FUD over the last four
months regarding GPL compliance, there was one key criticism that was
valid and couldn’t be ignored: Linux copyright holders should be
involved in compliance actions on embedded systems. Linux is a central
component of such work, and the BusyBox developers agreed wholeheartedly
that having some Linux developers involved with compliance would be very
helpful. Conservancy has addressed this issue by building a broad
coalition of copyright holders in many different projects who seek to
work on compliance with Conservancy, including not just Linux and
BusyBox, but other projects as well.

I’m looking forward in my day job to working collaboratively with
copyright holders of many different projects to uphold the rights
guaranteed by GPL. I’m also elated at the broad showing of support by
other Conservancy projects. In addition to the primary group in the
announcement (i.e., copyright holders in BusyBox, Samba and Linux), a
total of seven other GPL’d
and/or LGPL‘d
projects have chosen Conservancy to handle compliance efforts. It’s
clear that Conservancy’s compliance efforts are widely supported by many
projects.

The funniest part about all this, though, is that while there has been
no end of discussion of Conservancy’s and other’s compliance efforts
this year, most Free Software users never actually have to deal with
the details of compliance. Requirements of most copyleft licenses like
GPL generally trigger on distribution of the software —
particularly distribution of binaries. Since most users simply receive
distribution of binaries, and run them locally on their own computer,
rarely do they face complex issues of compliance. As the GPLv2
says
, The act of running the Program is not restricted.