Re: Organisation for enforcement of GPL3 licensing

From: Jimmy Kaplowitz <jimmy(at)spi-inc(dot)org>
To: jyqvklioo(at)googlemail(dot)com
Cc: spi-general(at)lists(dot)spi-inc(dot)org
Subject: Re: Organisation for enforcement of GPL3 licensing
Date: 2009-09-16 18:01:21
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On Wed, Sep 16, 2009 at 05:40:25PM +0200, jyqvklioo(at)googlemail(dot)com wrote:
> Can authors pre-authorize them to enforce licensing terms, or can they do it
> without prior authorisation of the authors?
> Can they themselves receive awarded compensation rather than the authors?
> If they will accept and can benefit from assignment of these rights, they may
> be suitable.
> It is de-motivating to libre software authors and potential authors that
> usage terms are abused. SFLC has helped in that regard. I'm looking for a
> ways to make GPL licensing more enforceable, even when contributors have
> become unreachable or it is impractical to trace who wrote or improved what
> work.

Speaking with my SPI board member hat on: SPI can indeed accept copyright
assignment and does respect the licensing preferences of authors, within the
realm of free software licenses, and definitely including GPLv3 as acceptable.
Its official policy recommends that individual authors retain copyright, but it
will accept it if desired. The SFLC does actually provide legal services to SPI
(we have another lawyer too); they have enforced the GPL before and can do so
again. Normally SPI holds funds that logically or explicitly belong to a
project in trust for the benefit of that project, but it could add them to SPI
general funds if the project explicitly wishes.

Please feel free to provide more details on your proposal to this mailing list
if you're OK with it being public or to board(at)spi-inc(dot)org if you prefer
confidentiality for the time being. I should let you know that new associated
project proposals are generally discussed on a private mailing list open to all
SPI contributing members before the board votes on them, but where appropriate
some details can remain confidential to the board.

- Jimmy Kaplowitz, member of the SPI board of directors


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