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Software Freedom Conservancy, Inc.
137 MONTAGUE ST STE 380
BROOKLYN, NY 11201-3548 USA
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Software Freedom needs your help.
Conservancy must move to a Supporter-driven organization so we can focus on critical free software issues that nobody else is tackling. Stand up for the GPL, support great member projects, and make your voice heard in support of free software. Donate today!
The world today is powered increasingly by Free Software. But what many people don't realize is how much support is needed to keep all of these projects free and open. The work that we do every day ensures the success and the continued freedom of the projects that the developers of our member projects dedicate themselves to. Projects like Git, Samba, Wine, BusyBox, QEMU, Inkscape, Selenium, and dozens more.
We are asking for you to join us and become a Conservancy Supporter but this is more than our usual annual fundraising appeal. As described in more detail below, after the events of 2015, we must substantially increase our individual support to be able to continue defending software freedom for our member projects and the entire free and open source software community. We needed at least 750 of you to become annual Supporters just to continue our basic community services, and we thank you so much that you responded. But we still need 2,500 (total) of you to become annual Supporters now to continue our licensing work, including enforcing copyleft licenses. If you don't become a Supporter now, we will be forced to radically restructure and wind down a substantial portion of our operations.
Software Freedom Conservancy has had a lot of major successes this year:
- We brought four new projects under the protection of Conservancy: QEMU, the generic machine emulator and virtualizer, The Bro Network Security Monitor, the Godot Game Engine, and Outreachy, a program dedicated to helping people from underrepresented groups get involved in free and open source software. We also worked with the Debian community to launch the Debian Copyright Aggregation Project at their request.
- We supported the lawsuit Christoph Hellwig has brought against VMware in Germany, the first case on derivative works and the GPL.
- We fought for and successfully earned an exemption from the Library of Congress in the DMCA review process to legally permit circumvention of encryption on Smart TVs, ensuring that you are free to hack on the devices that you legally own.
- We collaborated with the Free Software Foundation to publish the Principles of Community-Oriented GPL Enforcement, establishing community norms for enforcing the GPL in the public's interest, which have already been translated into Korean.
- Along with FSF, we helped Canonical, Ltd. achieve compliance in its "Intellectual Property" Policy, while pointing out that the policy fails to address important software freedom issues.
- We conducted friendly discussions with companies out of compliance with the GPL, seeking non-litigious resolutions.
- We participated in the process of telling the FCC to fix its proposed rules restricting third-party modification of firmware in wireless devices.
- We helped, coordinated, and financially insured volunteers of three of our member projects to organize large annual conferences, where thousands of attendees learned about free and open source software.
- We made 173 contractor payments to developers writing free and open source software, which included various different internships and contract software development work.
- We processed and paid 134 reimbursement requests to individuals doing work around the globe advocating for their free and open source software projects at conferences and other venues.
- We gave keynotes at DebConf, FOSDEM, FISL>, LibrePlanet, Linaro Connect, and participated in many more conferences all over the world; we also shared our expertise in initiatives like copyleft.org. We participated in interviews and blogposts, and Bradley and Karen published episodes of Free as in Freedom, dedicated to discussing the important issues in software freedom.
And we did all of this with only three full time employees.
We are focused on the most important ethical issues in software freedom. We work tirelessly and don't shy away from difficult issues.
We're a unique organization — a staunch defender of copyleft (for Linux, Debian and many of our member projects), a source of education and champions of diversity for the community via Outreachy and other programs, and are the legal home to over 30 member projects that are essential to developing free software.
We undertake these critical programs because they are essential to the future of technology. We do them because they are right. But we cannot do them without you. If we do not meet our fundraising goals, we will be forced to radically restructure.
Our fiscal sponsorship model is not financially self-sustaining by itself: we cannot afford even one staff member and basic overhead with the revenue we take in from our projects. With 750 supporters, we can now sustain the basic work and we will survive. But to thrive, and handle the really complex tasks like copyright and licensing advice, and license enforcement, we need even more resources. That's why our final target is 2,500 Supporters. If you use or care about our member projects, which include some of the most widely used free software, you can help them all by signing up as a Supporter today.
Fighting for the GPL
Many consider our GPL compliance and enforcement controversial. We don't think it is: we stand up for the GPL at the request of the Linux kernel community, the Debian community, and our member projects. Most recently, that has resulted in our funding of the suit against VMware, which is the first lawsuit on derivative works and the GPL. While this work is extremely important to the continued long-term success of software freedom and copyleft not to mention in the long term interest of the industry as a whole, it makes fundraising from companies very difficult. Some companies have withdrawn from funding us and some have even successfully pressured conferences to cancel or prevent talks on our enforcement work. We do this work because we think that it is good for everyone in the long run, because we know it is the right thing to do, and because we know that we are in the best position to do it. But that's not enough — you have to think it's right too and show us by becoming a Supporter now.
It's up to you
We have raised enough money to continue the VMware case, but our overall enforcement work needs additional support to be able to continue. As we state in the Principles of Community-Oriented GPL Enforcement, we cannot prioritize profit in these actions without compromising on the end goals of that work which is to help companies become free and open source software users and contributors.
Moreover, we have lost committed general funding from companies explicitly because of our enforcement work. Continuing this work without individual support is no longer possible.
As a result, we need 2,500 Supporters in order to maintain the staff and resources in the organization to properly undertake enforcement. We hope you will sign up as a Supporter to help us achieve this. If we don't reach our goal, we will have no choice but to hibernate enforcement until we have the resources to pick it up properly at some point in the future.
If you care about the GPL, help us meet our goal so we can stand up for the GPL together.
Please join our Supporter program and spread software freedom!
Join as an Annual Supporter
Note: annual supporter is not an automatic renewal relationship. If you join today, you'll receive an email in about one year to remind you to optionally renew.
Join as an Monthly Supporter
Monthly renewal is automatic. Also, monthly supporters might not receive tangible Supporter benefits (such as the t-shirt) until they've reached at least $60 in monthly supporter donations. However, they will be included immediately in in the Supporters' list.
Renew as an Annual Supporter
Note: This option is for existing annual supporters who seek to renew for another year. The annual renewal is not automatic; annual supporters are emailed each year to invite them to optionally renew.