SF Conservancy Speaks Out Against Developer Doing GPL Enforcement For Financial Gain

Written by Michael Larabel in Free Software on 21 July 2016 at 08:40 AM EDT. 72 Comments
The Software Freedom Conservancy has issued a blog post this week about community-oriented principles in GPL enforcement work and in particular pointing out a Linux developer who hasn't agreed to these terms and is allegedly focusing upon GPL enforcement for his own financial gain.

As part of the Conservancy's principles, "Community-oriented enforcement must never prioritize financial gain...Nevertheless, pursuing damages to the full extent allowed by copyright law is usually unnecessary, and can in some cases work against the purpose of copyleft."

The blog post by Bradley Kuhn and Karen Sandler then go to talk about the work done by Patrick McHardy, a Linux developer mainly focusing upon the networking stack. McHardy formerly led the Netfilter project and has been engaging in GPL enforcement work in Germany where his own copyrights have been infringed.

However, the statement from the SF Conservancy says, "The most common criticism that we hear from those who have been approached by Patrick is an accusation that he violates one specific Principle: prioritizing financial gain over compliance."

McHardy hasn't been responding to the Software Freedom Conservancy's messages so they publicly wrote, "Thus, we now call on Patrick to endorse the Principles or publicly engage in good faith with the community to discuss proper methods of enforcement. We further welcome anyone who does not currently abide by these Principles to join us anew in our coordinated community-oriented GPL enforcement work."

Those wanting to learn more can visit SFConservancy.org.
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