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2015 YIR: Conservancy Wins DMCA Exception for Smart TVs

by Bradley M. Kuhn on December 18, 2015

[ This is a blog post is the fourth in our series, Conservancy 2015: Year in Review . ]

For 7 years, culminating in a major victory this year, Conservancy has fought for your right to do cool things with your digital television. As part of the review process for exceptions to the DMCA, Conservancy fought for and won an exception for so-called “Smart TVs”.

In early February 2015, Conservancy filed a formal long form comment with the Copyright office, following up on our initial petition in 2014.

**Photo of Williamson testifying at the DMCA hearing**

We continued in this process, even though we have extremely limited resources compared to other organizations working in this area. We funded travel expenses for our pro-bono attorney on this matter, Aaron Williamson of Tor Ekland P.C., to testify at a hearing on the matter.

In October, our hard work yielded success. The Copyright Office granted the exception in their issued ruling.

What does that mean for your software freedom? If you own a television with a digital Linux-based firmware on it, you can extract that firmware, and figure out how to replace it with a more Free-Software-friendly firmware stack like SamyGo without fearing a DMCA violation.

The road to this type of software freedom was even longer for Conservancy. We sued Samsung (along with many other defendants) back in 2008, and assured that Samsung released the copylefted components in their firmware. Like the OpenWRT project, the SamyGo project exists thanks to active GPL enforcement by non-profit charities like Conservancy. With this DMCA exception, we can be assured of a clear and equal playing field for hobbyists and life-hackers who wish to modify the devices in their home.

Would you like us to continue this important work? This is precisely the type of activity we'll cut from our budget if we don't get meet our target of 2,500 Supporters.

Tags: conservancy, GPL, Year In Revew 2015

2015 YIR: Bradley and Karen Speak at FOSDEM 2015

by Bradley M. Kuhn and Karen M. Sandler on December 16, 2015

[ This is a blog post is the third in our series, Conservancy 2015: Year in Review . ]

At the end of January 2015, Bradley and Karen came back from LCA and left almost immediately for FOSDEM 2015, where they co-organized the FOSDEM 2015 Legal & Policies Issues DevRoom with Tom Marble and Richard Fontana. Karen gave an amazing FOSDEM-wide keynote (in the giant room :) entitled Identity Crisis: Are we who we say we are?, and Bradley gave a talk in the DevRoom.

Sadly, it looks like the cameras were not functioning for Karen's keynote, but you can read her interview with the FOSDEM organizers about the talk. Fortunately, there is video for Bradley's talk, entitled Fork and Ignore: Fighting a GPL Violation By Coding Instead (The Story of Kallithea). The video of the talk is included here (and is also available on Youtube). The slides aren't clear on the video, but you can follow along with the slides on Bradley's website.)

Bradley's talk in particular tells a story of one of Conservancy's successes from the previous year, the launch of the Kallithea project. Just a few weeks ago, Conservancy launched its own Kallithea instance for Conservancy's public repositories.

Karen and Bradley are again co-organizers of the Legal & Policy DevRoom at FODEM 2016.

Tags: conservancy, GPL, Kallithea, Year In Revew 2015

First Two Conservancy Members, Samba & Wine, Ask You to Support Conservancy

by Bradley M. Kuhn and Karen M. Sandler on December 15, 2015

Last week, we shared a video from Jeremy Allison, co-founder of Samba, encouraging you to become a Conservancy Supporter today. As many know, Samba and Wine were the first two projects to join Conservancy directly after our founding in early 2006. Today, we share this video where Wine project contributor asks you to become a Conservancy Supporter.

Both Wine and Samba are in the unique position to tell you, that after 10 years of receiving services from Conservancy, they really want us to continue. You can make sure that happens by signing up as a Supporter right now.

Tags: conservancy, supporter

2015 YIR: Bradley M. Kuhn Speaks About Future of Copyleft

by Bradley M. Kuhn and Karen M. Sandler on December 12, 2015

[ This is a blog post is the second in our series, Conservancy 2015: Year in Review ]

Thanks to the generosity of the LinuxConf Australia (LCA) organizers, who funded both Karen's and Bradley's visit to LinuxConf AU 2015, both were able to attend and speak at LCA 2015. Yesterday, our Year In Review post included a video of Karen Sandler's talk at LCA 2015. Today's video shows Bradley M. Kuhn's talk, Considering the Future of Copyleft: How Will The Next Generation Perceive the GPL?, which was delivered on 15 January 2015.

Copyleft licenses, particularly the GPL, are widely used throughout the Open Source and Free Software communities. Recent debates have led many to various conclusions about the popularity of copyleft. This talk discusses where copyleft stands today, how it interacts with the modern Free Software world, and how copyleft advocates may need to adapt to the future of Free Software licensing.

Specifically, Bradley gives a historical perspective of how the Open Source and Free Software communities perceive copyleft now, and why they do. He discusses what challenges this history leaves for the current situation in software freedom politics. Told with examples from his own twenty years of work in our community, Bradley describes the political challenges facing copyleft and what we as a community should do about it.

Bradley will premiere a follow-up talk to this one, entitled Copyleft For the Next Decade: A Comprehensive Plan at LinuxConf Australia 2016.

This video is also available on on Youtube and in as a direct download in webm format.

Tags: conservancy, GPL, Year In Revew 2015

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