Tag Archives: Free Software Foundation

[$] A successful defense against a copyright troll

Post Syndicated from jake original https://lwn.net/Articles/752485/rss

At the 2018 Legal and
Licensing Workshop
(LLW), which is a yearly gathering
of lawyers and technical folks organized by the Free Software Foundation
Europe (FSFE), attendees got more details on a recent hearing in a German GPL
enforcement case. Marcus von Welser is a lawyer who represented the
defendant, Geniatech,
in a case that was brought by Patrick
. In the presentation, von
Welser was joined by
Armijn Hemel, who helped
Geniatech in its compliance efforts. The hearing
was of interest for a number of reasons, not least because McHardy
withdrew his request for an injunction once it became clear that the judge
was leaning in
favor of the defendants
—effectively stopping this case dead in its tracks.

Public Lab and Karen Sandler are 2017 Free Software Awards winners

Post Syndicated from ris original https://lwn.net/Articles/750153/rss

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) announced
the winners of the 2017 Free Software Awards during LibrePlanet.
Public Lab is a community and non-profit organization with the goal
of democratizing science to address environmental issues. Their
community-created tools and techniques utilize free software and low-cost
devices to enable people at any level of technical skill to investigate
environmental concerns.
” The organization received the Award for
Projects of Social Benefit. Karen Sandler, the Executive Director of the
Software Freedom Conservancy, received the Award for the Advancement of
Free Software.

Free Software Foundation 2016 annual report

Post Syndicated from corbet original https://lwn.net/Articles/748298/rss

The Free Software Foundation has announced
the availability of its 2016 annual report. “The Annual Report
reviews the Foundation’s activities, accomplishments, and financial picture
from October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016. It is the result of a full
external financial audit, along with a focused study of program
” It may lack punctuality, but it makes up for it in

ActivityPub is now a W3C recommended standard

Post Syndicated from ris original https://lwn.net/Articles/745172/rss

The Free Software Foundation blog has a guest
GNU MediaGoblin founder Christopher Lemmer Webber announcing that ActivityPub has been made an
official W3C recommended standard. “ActivityPub is a protocol for building decentralized social networking applications. It provides both a server-to-server protocol (i.e. federation) and a client-to-server protocol (for desktop and mobile applications to connect to your server). You can use the server-to-server protocol or the client-to-server protocol on their own, but one nice feature is that the designs for both are very similar. Chances are, if you’ve implemented support for one, you can get support for the other with very little extra effort! We’ve worked hard to make ActivityPub easy to understand.

FSF adds PureOS to list of endorsed GNU/Linux distributions

Post Syndicated from jake original https://lwn.net/Articles/742152/rss

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) has announced that it added PureOS to its list of endorsed Linux distributions. “‘PureOS is a GNU operating system that embodies privacy, security, and convenience strictly with free software throughout. Working with the Free Software Foundation in this multi-year endorsement effort solidifies our longstanding belief that free software is the nucleus for all things ethical for users. Using PureOS ensures you are using an ethical operating system, committed to providing the best in privacy, security, and freedom,’ said Todd Weaver, Founder & CEO of Purism.

Eben Moglen is no longer a friend of the free software community

Post Syndicated from Matthew Garrett original https://mjg59.dreamwidth.org/49370.html

(Note: While the majority of the events described below occurred while I was a member of the board of directors of the Free Software Foundation, I am no longer. This is my personal position and should not be interpreted as the opinion of any other organisation or company I have been affiliated with in any way)

Eben Moglen has done an amazing amount of work for the free software community, serving on the board of the Free Software Foundation and acting as its general counsel for many years, leading the drafting of GPLv3 and giving many forceful speeches on the importance of free software. However, his recent behaviour demonstrates that he is no longer willing to work with other members of the community, and we should reciprocate that.

In early 2016, the FSF board became aware that Eben was briefing clients on an interpretation of the GPL that was incompatible with that held by the FSF. He later released this position publicly with little coordination with the FSF, which was used by Canonical to justify their shipping ZFS in a GPL-violating way. He had provided similar advice to Debian, who were confused about the apparent conflict between the FSF’s position and Eben’s.

This situation was obviously problematic – Eben is clearly free to provide whatever legal opinion he holds to his clients, but his very public association with the FSF caused many people to assume that these positions were held by the FSF and the FSF were forced into the position of publicly stating that they disagreed with legal positions held by their general counsel. Attempts to mediate this failed, and Eben refused to commit to working with the FSF on avoiding this sort of situation in future[1].

Around the same time, Eben made legal threats towards another project with ties to FSF. These threats were based on a license interpretation that ran contrary to how free software licenses had been interpreted by the community for decades, and was made without any prior discussion with the FSF. This, in conjunction with his behaviour over the ZFS issue, led to him stepping down as the FSF’s general counsel.

Throughout this period, Eben disparaged FSF staff and other free software community members in various semi-public settings. In doing so he harmed the credibility of many people who have devoted significant portions of their lives to aiding the free software community. At Libreplanet earlier this year he made direct threats against an attendee – this was reported as a violation of the conference’s anti-harassment policy.

Eben has acted against the best interests of an organisation he publicly represented. He has threatened organisations and individuals who work to further free software. His actions are no longer to the benefit of the free software community and the free software community should cease associating with him.

[1] Contrary to the claim provided here, Bradley was not involved in this process.

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FSFE makes copyrights computer readable

Post Syndicated from ris original https://lwn.net/Articles/738475/rss

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) has released the
next version of its REUSE practices,
designed to make computers understand software copyrights and licenses.
The REUSE practices help software developers make simple additions to license headers which make it easier for a computer to determine what license applies to the various parts of a programs source code. By following the REUSE practices, software developers can ensure their intent to license software under a particular license is understood and more readily adhered to.

FSFE: Public Money? Public Code!

Post Syndicated from ris original https://lwn.net/Articles/733604/rss

The Free Software Foundation Europe has joined several
in publishing an open letter urging lawmakers
to advance legislation requiring publicly financed software developed for
the public sector be made available under a Free and Open Source Software
license. “The initial signatories include CCC, EDRi, Free Software
Foundation Europe, KDE, Open Knowledge Foundation Germany, openSUSE, Open
Source Business Alliance, Open Source Initiative, The Document Foundation,
Wikimedia Deutschland, as well as several others; they ask individuals and
other organisation to sign the open letter. The open letter will be sent to candidates for the German Parliament election and, during the coming months, until the 2019 EU parliament elections, to other representatives of the EU and EU member states.

Encrypted Media Extensions a W3C Recommendation

Post Syndicated from ris original https://lwn.net/Articles/727499/rss

Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) have been under review by the W3C Advisory
Committee since last March. This report
from the committee
addresses comments and objections to EME.
After consideration of the issues, the Director reached a decision
that the EME specification should move to W3C Recommendation. The Encrypted
Media Extensions specification remains a better alternative for users than
other platforms, including for reasons of security, privacy, and
accessibility, by taking advantage of the Web platform. While additional
work in some areas may be beneficial for the future of the Web Platform, it
remains appropriate for the W3C to make the EME specification a W3C
Recommendation. Formal publication of the W3C Recommendation will happen at
a later date. We encourage W3C Members and the community to work in both
technical and policy areas to find better solutions in this space.

The Free Software Foundation’s Defective by Design campaign opposes
arguing that it infringes on Web users’ control of their own
computers, and weakens their security and privacy. “Opponents’ last opportunity to stop EME is an appeal by the Advisory Committee of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the body which Tim Berners-Lee heads. Requiring 5% of the Committee’s 475 members (corporate, nonprofit, and educational institutions) to sign on within a two-week period, the appeal would then trigger a vote from the whole Committee to make a final decision to ratify or reject EME.

FSF: Judge won’t dismiss alleged GPL violation: Why this matters

Post Syndicated from ris original https://lwn.net/Articles/724720/rss

Last month LWN pointed to an article about
the Artifex v. Hancom case, in which Hancom used Atifex’s Ghostscript in
its office product. The Free Software Foundation looks at the case
and the recent ruling. “On the latter, the judge found that the
business model of Artifex indicated a loss of revenue, but also noted that
harm could be found
even where money isn’t involved. The judge, quoting a prior case,
noted that there are “substantial benefits, including economic
benefits, to the creation and distribution of copyrighted works under
public licenses that range far beyond traditional license royalties.”
While not dispostive, this last note is particularly interesting for
many free software developers, who generally share their work at no

The Licensing and Compliance Lab interviews AJ Jordon of gplenforced.org (FSF Blog)

Post Syndicated from jake original https://lwn.net/Articles/723828/rss

The Free Software Foundation’s blog is carrying an interview with AJ Jordon, who runs the gplenforced.org site to support GPL enforcement efforts and to help other projects indicate their support. “gplenforced.org is a small site I made that has exactly two purposes: host a badge suitable for embedding into a README file on GitLab or something, and provide some text with an easy and friendly explanation of GPL enforcement for that badge to link to.

Putting badges in READMEs has been pretty trendy for a while now — people add badges to indicate whether their test suite is passing, their dependencies are up-to-date, and what version is published in language package managers. gplenforced.org capitalizes on that trend to add the maintainer’s beliefs about license enforcement, too.”

[$] The rise of copyright trolls

Post Syndicated from jake original https://lwn.net/Articles/721458/rss

At the 2017 Free
Software Legal and Licensing Workshop
(LLW), which was held April 26-28
in Barcelona, Spain, more information about the GPL enforcement efforts by Patrick McHardy
emerged. The workshop is organized by the Free Software Foundation Europe
(FSFE) and its legal
A panel discussion on the final day of the workshop discussed
McHardy’s methodology and outlined why those efforts are actually far from
the worst-case scenario of a copyright troll. While the Q&A portion of the
discussion was under Chatham House
(which was the default for the workshop), the discussion between
the three participants was not—it provided much more detail about McHardy’s efforts, and
copyright trolling in general, than has been previously available publicly.

SecureDrop and Alexandre Oliva are 2016 Free Software Awards winners

Post Syndicated from ris original https://lwn.net/Articles/718188/rss

The Free Software Foundation has announced
the winners
of the 2016 Free Software Awards. The Award for Projects
of Social Benefit went to SecureDrop
and the Award for the Advancement of Free Software went to Alexandre Oliva. “SecureDrop is an anonymous whistleblowing platform used by major news organizations and maintained by Freedom of the Press Foundation. Originally written by the late Aaron Swartz with assistance from Kevin Poulsen and James Dolan, the free software platform was designed to facilitate private and anonymous conversations and secure document transfer between journalists and sensitive sources.

DRM in HTML5 is a victory for the open Web, not a defeat (Ars Technica)

Post Syndicated from ris original https://lwn.net/Articles/716373/rss

Ars Technica argues
that Encrypted Media Extensions (EME), a framework that will allow the
delivery of DRM-protected media through the browser, will be good for the
web. “Moreover, a case could be made that EME will make it easier for content distributors to experiment with—and perhaps eventually switch to—DRM-free distribution.

Under the current model, whether it be DRM-capable browser plugins or DRM-capable apps, a content distributor such as Netflix has no reason to experiment with unprotected content. Users of the site’s services are already using a DRM-capable platform, and they’re unlikely to even notice if one or two videos (for example, one of the Netflix-produced broadcasts like House of Cards or the forthcoming Arrested Development episodes) are unprotected. It wouldn’t make a difference to them.”

The Free Software Foundation has a
different take
on EME. “We have been fighting EME since 2013, and we will not back off because the W3C presents weak guidance as a fig leaf for DRM-using companies to hide their disrespect for users’ rights. Companies can impose DRM without the W3C; but we should make them do it on their own, so it is seen for what it is—a subversion of the Web’s principles—rather than normalize it or give it endorsement.

FSFE: What happened in Munich

Post Syndicated from corbet original https://lwn.net/Articles/716174/rss

The Free Software Foundation Europe has put out a release providing its
view of the decision in Munich to possibly back away from its
free-software-based infrastructure.
Since this decision was reached, the majority of media have reported
that a final call was made to halt LiMux and switch back to Microsoft
software. This is, however, not an accurate representation of the
outcome of the city council meeting. We studied the available
documentation and our impression is that the last word has not been

An updated FSF high-priority project list

Post Syndicated from corbet original http://lwn.net/Articles/711876/rss

The Free Software Foundation has reworked its high-priority
project list
to reflect its view of computing in 2017. See the
for a list of the changes that were made. Among other
things, the Gnash
flash player has fallen off the list. “Smart phones are the most
widely used form of personal computer today. Thus, the need for a fully
free phone operating system is crucial to the proliferation of software

A change of lawyers at the FSF

Post Syndicated from corbet original http://lwn.net/Articles/704938/rss

The Free Software Foundation has announced
that Eben Moglen has stepped down as the organization’s general counsel;
there is no word on who his replacement will be. “The FSF looks
forward to working together in other capacities with Professor Moglen and
SFLC on future projects to advance the free software movement and use of
the GNU General Public License (GPL).

The FSF seeks nominations for the annual Free Software Awards

Post Syndicated from ris original http://lwn.net/Articles/703254/rss

The Free Software Foundation and the GNU Project are asking
for nominations
for the 19th annual Free Software Awards. The Award for
the Advancement of Free Software will be presented to “an individual
who has made a great contribution to the progress and development of free
software, through activities that accord with the spirit of free
” and the Award for Projects of Social Benefit will be
presented to “the project or team responsible for applying free
software, or the ideas of the free software movement, in a project that
intentionally and significantly benefits society in other aspects of
” The deadline for nominations is November 6.

FSF: Tim Berners-Lee just gave us an opening to stop DRM in Web standards

Post Syndicated from ris original http://lwn.net/Articles/702923/rss

The Free Software Foundation’s Defective By Design campaign reports
that Tim Berners-Lee decided not to exercise his power to extend the
development timeline for the Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) Web
technology standard. “Berners-Lee made his surprising decision on
Tuesday, as explained in an email
by W3C representative Philippe Le Hégaret. Instead of
granting a time extension — as he has already done once — Berners-Lee
delegated the decision to the W3C’s general decision-making body, the Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee includes diverse entities from universities to companies to nonprofits, and it is divided as to whether EME should be part of Web standards. It is entirely possible that the Advisory Committee will reject the time extension and terminate EME development, marking an important victory for the free Web.