|Project:||Software Freedom Conservancy, Inc. and its GPL Compliance Project for Linux Developers|
Copyleft, and the GNU General Public License (GPL) in particular, have faced
serious challenges in the last five years. It's not over: many more threats
are on the way. Not by coincidence these attacks on copyleft come when Open
Source seems to reach new heights of success. For example, hordes of
software developers are funded full time to churn out wonderful new Free
Software, but their employers make one key requirement: develop Free Software
only under non-copyleft licenses. Some of this new code is specifically
designed to replace existing, widely used, copylefted programs and packages.
Meanwhile, those programs that remain under copyleft licenses (most notably
the kernel named Linux) face a decades long, ongoing myriad of license
violations. Such violations, most frighteningly, include nefarious attempts
by major companies to shirk their responsibilities under copyleft. The
situation is undoubtedly bleak.
Those of us who care about software freedom need a plan. Up until now,
copyleft assured an equal playing field, but big companies work daily to tilt
the playing field in their favor -- directly against the interests of most
developers, hobbyists, users, and enthusiasts. This talk will present the
political challenges that copyleft continues to face, and offer real actions
that individuals can do to assure software freedom for everyone.
Bradley M. Kuhn is the President and Distinguished Technologist at Software Freedom Conservancy, on the Board of Directors of the Free Software Foundation (FSF), and editor-in-chief of copyleft.org. Kuhn began his work in the software freedom movement as a volunteer in 1992, when he became an early adopter of the GNU/Linux operating system, and began contributing to various Free Software projects. He worked during the 1990s as a system administrator and software developer for various companies, and taught AP Computer Science at Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati. Kuhn's non-profit career began in 2000, when he was hired by the FSF. As FSF's Executive Director from 2001-2005, Kuhn led FSF's GPL enforcement, launched its Associate Member program, and invented the Affero GPL. Kuhn was appointed President of Software Freedom Conservancy in April 2006, was Conservancy's primary volunteer from 2006-2010, and has been a full-time staffer since early 2011. Kuhn holds a summa cum laude B.S. in Computer Science from Loyola University in Maryland, and an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Cincinnati. Kuhn's Master's thesis discussed methods for dynamic interoperability of Free Software programming languages. Kuhn received the O'Reilly Open Source Award in 2012, in recognition for his lifelong policy work on copyleft licensing. Kuhn has a blog at http://ebb.org/bkuhn/blog/ , is on a pump.io at http://identi.ca/bkuhn/, and co-hosts the audcast, Free as in Freedom at http://faif.us/.
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