Conservancy Promotes Transparency by Publishing Template Agreements for Linux Compliance Program

Software Freedom Conservancy info at
Thu Nov 3 18:31:01 UTC 2016


    Conservancy Promotes Transparency by Publishing Template Agreements
                        for Linux Compliance Program

      Discussion Invited at Second Feedback Session on GPL Enforcement

Today at the Linux Plumbers Conference, Software Freedom Conservancy hosts
its second feedback session on the GPL Compliance Program for Linux
Developers. These sessions, which Conservancy is hosting at relevant events
over the next year and summarizing for public review, will seek input and
ideas from the Linux community about GPL enforcement, answer questions, and
plan strategies to deal with GPL enforcement actions that do not follow
Conservancy and FSF's Principles of Community-Oriented GPL Enforcement.

The publication of the template agreements (links below) demonstrates
Conservancy's commitment to transparency. The documents have a similar
structure as Conservancy's agreements with its member projects, designed to
work at the service of the coalition. They include an easy termination
provision, requiring just thirty days' notice at any time. Because the aim
of Conservancy's compliance work is to avoid litigation, no lawsuits may be
initiated without further explicit agreement.

Two versions of the template agreement are provided. The anonymous agreement
includes a clause binding Conservancy to not disclose the identity of the
participant. This clause was directly requested by Linux contributors who
fear repercussions from their employers or other community members who
oppose GPL enforcement. Conservancy designed this version to respect the
wishes of those who want to help ensure the future of copyleft, but are not
prepared to face public attacks from those who oppose copyleft.

Karen Sandler, who will co-host today's session at the Plumbers Conference,
noted the importance of designing agreements that adhere to the Principles
of Community-Oriented GPL Enforcement. "The agreements empower developers to
direct and control Conservancy's enforcement actions. While the Principles
allow for recovery of costs, the terms ensure that developers direct how
such funds are spent." Karen noted, however, "While the agreement sets out
how money received through any compliance actions is divided, to date no
amounts have been received under this initiative."

Conservancy is publishing these agreements today as background for the
enforcement feedback session at 6:00 PM Mountain Time at the Linux Plumbers
Conference 2016. Conservancy's Executive Director, Karen Sandler, and
Director of Strategic Initiatives, Brett Smith, will host the session, and
all conference attendees are welcome to join the discussion. Conservancy
will also take feedback on the agreements over its mailing list for
discussion of the GPL enforcement principles and at feedback sessions at
other conferences over the coming months.

Conservancy, as always, recommends that anyone who is contemplating signing
an agreement consult legal counsel about their own specific situation prior
to doing so.

URL links from this announcement:

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