September 24, 2009, 12:01 pm
The Free Software Foundation France (FSF France) is jubilant about a recent court ruling that has affirmed the validity of the open source GNU General Public License (GPL) under French copyright law. This successful GPL enforcement effort will send a strong message about the importance of open source license compliance to the French software industry.
The GPL is a copyleft license that mandates reciprocal disclosure of source code. When a company incorporates code that is licensed under the GPL into their software product, they are obligated to make their own code available under the terms of the GPL, which stipulates that source code must be made available for third parties to study, modify, and redistribute. Companies that ship GPL-based products must provide notice to end users and promise to furnish source code upon request.