Demystifying GPL Enforcement: Using the Law To Uphold Copyleft


The GPL enforcement process remains opaque to most FLOSS developers and users. This talk will explain how GPL enforcement works, what users and companies should do to comply, and what developers should do to help their users comply.

Copyleft licenses are a special class of FLOSS licenses, since they place detailed legal obligations on the redistributors and/or modifiers of the software. Typically, our community follows these rules voluntarily as part of the software sharing community. Occasionally, however, companies fail to follow the rules. The response that upholds the license is typically called "GPL enforcement".

The GPL enforcement process unfortunately remains somewhat opaque, even to many developers who choose the GPL. Meanwhile, the enforcement lawsuits filed by and SFLC have startled many developers. This talk, presented by Bradley M. Kuhn, an experienced GPL enforcer, will explain the motivations for enforcement action, teach developers how to educate their users about license obligations and teach businesses how to comply with developers' wishes. Kuhn will explain in general terms the standard process of GPL enforcement practiced by non-profit entities and individuals in the FLOSS world.

Those attending the talk can expect to learn:
* how to better educate their users to follow the terms of GPL correctly to avoid compliance problems,
* the mindset that leads other developers and organizations to choose to actively enforce the GPL, and
* the process typically used when a choice to enforce is made.

Speaker: Bradley Kuhn

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