November 9, 2009, 7:27 pm
Bradley Kuhn, the technical director of the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC), has published a helpful set of guidelines about the most productive way to respond to a suspected violation of GNU's General Public License (GPL). The guidelines caution against jumping to conclusions and encourages free software enthusiasts to give violators the benefit of the doubt. GPL violations are extremely common, he says, but most of them are accidental.
The SFLC, which was founded in 2005 with the aim of providing legal support for the free and open source software development community, has played a key role in resolving numerous GPL enforcement conflicts. Its approach to GPL enforcement is typically instructive and non-confrontational. Lawsuits are used as a last resort and have consistently resulted in out-of-court settlements. The organization is perhaps best known for litigating a series of high-profile GPL violation cases on behalf of the developers of the open source BusyBox embedded tools.