Conservancy and FSF announce copyleft.org
Copyleft Guide Now Includes a Pristine CCS Example Analysis
November 7, 2014
Software Freedom Conservancy and the Free Software Foundation announce today an ongoing public project that began in early 2014: Copyleft and the GNU General Public License: A Comprehensive Tutorial and Guide, and the publication of that project in its new home on the Internet at copyleft.org. This new site will not only provide a venue for those who constantly update and improve the Comprehensive Tutorial, but is also now home to a collaborative community to share and improve information about copyleft licenses (especially the GNU General Public License (GPL)) and best compliance practices for those licenses.
Bradley M. Kuhn, President and Distinguished Technologist of Software Freedom Conservancy and member of FSF's Board of Directors, currently serves as editor-in-chief of the project. The text has already grown to 100 pages discussing all aspects of copyleft — including policy motivations, detailed study of the license texts, and compliance issues. This tutorial was initially constructed from materials that Kuhn developed on a semi-regular basis over the last eleven years. Kuhn merged this material, along with other material regarding the GPL published by the FSF, into a single, coherent volume, and released it publicly for the benefit of all users of Free Software.
Today, Conservancy announces a specific, new contribution: an additional chapter to the Case Studies in GPL Enforcement section of the tutorial. This new chapter, co-written by Kuhn and Conservancy's Compliance Engineer, Denver Gingerich, discusses in detail the analysis of a complete, corresponding source (CCS) release for a real-world electronics product, and describes the process that Conservancy and the FSF use to determine whether a CCS candidate indeed complies with the requirements of the GPL. The CCS analyzed is for ThinkPenguin's TPE-NWIFIROUTER wireless router, which was recently given FSF's prestigious Respects Your Freedom (RYF) certification..
This copyleft guide itself is freely distributed under copyleft, using
Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license, the
primary copyleft license used for works of textual authorship in natural
languages. Kuhn, who hopes the initial release and this subsequent announcement
will inspire others to contribute to the guide, stated:
copyleft — such as why it exists, how it works, and how to comply
— should be freely available and modifiable, just as all generally
useful technical information should. I am delighted to impart my
experience with copyleft freely. I hope, however, that other
key thinkers in the field of copyleft will contribute to help produce the
best reference documentation on copyleft available.
Particularly useful are the substantial contributions already
made to the guide from the FSF itself. As the author, primary
interpreter, and ultimate authority on the GPL, the FSF is in a
unique position to provide insights into understanding
free software licensing. While the guide as a living text will not automatically
reflect official FSF positions, the FSF has already approved and
published one version for use at its Seminar on GPL
Enforcement and Legal Ethics in March 2014. John Sullivan, Executive Director of the FSF, noted,
Participants at our licensing seminar in March commented
positively on the high quality of the teaching materials, including the
comprehensive guide to GPL compliance. We look forward to
collaborating with the copyleft.org community to continually improve this resource, and we will periodically review particular versions for FSF endorsement and publication.
Enthusiastic new contributors can get immediately involved by visiting and editing the main wiki on copyleft.org, or by submitting merge requests on copyleft.org's gitorious site for the guide, or by joining the copyleft.org mailing lists and/or IRC channel.
copyleft.org welcomes all contributors. The editors have already
incorporated other freely licensed documents about GPL and
compliance with copyleft licenses — thus providing a central location for all such works. Furthermore, the project continues to recruit
contributors who have knowledge about other copyleft licenses besides FSF's
GPL family of licenses. In particular, Mike Linksvayer, member of Conservancy's board of
directors, has agreed to lead the drafting on a section
about Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike licenses to mirror the ample
text already available on GPL.
I'm glad to bring my knowledge about the Creative
Commons copyleft licenses as a contribution to improve further this
excellent tutorial text, and I hope that copyleft.org as a whole can more
generally become a central location to collect interesting ideas about
copyleft.org is a collaborative project to create and disseminate useful information, tutorial material, and new policy ideas regarding all forms of copyleft licensing. Its primary project is currently a comprehensive tutorial and guide, which describes the policy motivations for copyleft exists, presentes a detailed analysis of the text of various copyleft licenses, and gives examples and case studies of copyleft compliance situations.
About Software Freedom Conservancy
Software Freedom Conservancy is a not-for-profit organization that promotes, improves, develops and defends Free, Libre and Open Source software projects. Conservancy is home more than thirty software projects, each supported by a dedicated community of volunteers, developers and users. Conservancy's projects include some of the most widely used software systems in the world across many application areas, including educational software deployed in schools around the globe, embedded software systems deployed in most consumer electronic devices, distributed version control developer tools, integrated library services systems, and widely used graphics and art programs. A full list of Conservancy's member projects is available. Conservancy provides these projects with the necessary infrastructure and not-for-profit support services to enable each project's communities to focus on what they do best: creating innovative software and advancing computing for the public's benefit.
About the Free Software Foundation
The Free Software Foundation, founded in 1985, is dedicated to promoting computer users' right to use, study, copy, modify, and redistribute computer programs. The FSF promotes the development and use of free (as in freedom) software -- particularly the GNU operating system and its GNU/Linux variants -- and free documentation for free software. The FSF also helps to spread awareness of the ethical and political issues of freedom in the use of software, and its Web sites, located at fsf.org and gnu.org, are an important source of information about GNU/Linux. Donations to support the FSF's work can be made at https://donate.fsf.org. Its headquarters are in Boston, MA, USA.
Karen M. Sandler <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Executive Director, Software Freedom Conservancy
Joshua Gay <email@example.com>
Licensing & Compliance Manager, Free Software Foundation