Linux Kernel Gets An "Enforcement Statement" To Deal With Copyright Trolls

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel on 16 October 2017 at 06:11 AM EDT. 39 Comments
Greg Kroah-Hartman on the behalf of the Linux Foundation Technical Advisory Board has today announced the Linux Kernel Community Enforcement Statement. This statement is designed to better fend off copyright trolls.

Among the copyright troll concerns is how a Netfilter developer has been trying to enforce his personal copyright claims against companies for "in secret and for large sums of money by threatening or engaging in litigation."

The Technical Advisory Board has been working with lawyers to construct a community enforcement statement that they are now adding to the Linux kernel source tree. In part, adopting some provisions of the GPLv3.0 license to their GPLv2 kernel.

The bulk of this statement comes down to:
As developers of the Linux kernel, we have a keen interest in how our software is used and how the license for our software is enforced. Compliance with the reciprocal sharing obligations of GPL-2.0 is critical to the long-term sustainability of our software and community.

Although there is a right to enforce the separate copyright interests in the contributions made to our community, we share an interest in ensuring that individual enforcement actions are conducted in a manner that benefits our community and do not have an unintended negative impact on the health and growth of our software ecosystem. In order to deter unhelpful enforcement actions, we agree that it is in the best interests of our development community to undertake the following commitment to users of the Linux kernel on behalf of ourselves and any successors to our copyright interests:

Notwithstanding the termination provisions of the GPL-2.0, we agree that it is in the best interests of our development community to adopt the following provisions of GPL-3.0 as additional permissions under our license with respect to any non-defensive assertion of rights under the license.

However, if you cease all violation of this License, then your license from a particular copyright holder is reinstated (a) provisionally, unless and until the copyright holder explicitly and finally terminates your license, and (b) permanently, if the copyright holder fails to notify you of the violation by some reasonable means prior to 60 days after the cessation.

Moreover, your license from a particular copyright holder is reinstated permanently if the copyright holder notifies you of the violation by some reasonable means, this is the first time you have received notice of violation of this License (for any work) from that copyright holder, and you cure the violation prior to 30 days after your receipt of the notice.

Our intent in providing these assurances is to encourage more use of the software. We want companies and individuals to use, modify and distribute this software. We want to work with users in an open and transparent way to eliminate any uncertainty about our expectations regarding compliance or enforcement that might limit adoption of our software. We view legal action as a last resort, to be initiated only when other community efforts have failed to resolve the problem.

A number of major contributors have already "signed" this statement. More details via Greg's blog and the FAQ.
Related News
About The Author
Michael Larabel

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

Popular News This Week