A Practical Guide to Compliance with the GNU GPL

Presented by Bradley M. Kuhn, Karen M. Sandler
Thursday 1:20 p.m.–3 p.m.
Target audience: Business


Co-presented by an instructor who has done more GPL compliance work (and taught more courses on it) than anyone, and one of the most experienced lawyers in FOSS licensing, this tutorial, teaches the practical details that developers, business managers and lawyers must know to ensure their company's proper compliance with the GNU GPL and related licenses. The tutorial first explains the key provisions of GPL for those who wish to redistribute modified versions of GPL software, including handling binaries found in consumer devices. Thereafter, the tutorial explains in plain and straightforward langauge the most challenging concept in GPL: complete, corresponding source code (CCS), its preparation, and its procurement.

Finally, the tutorial explains what companies can expect if, despite their best efforts, they fail to comply with GPL, and furthermore outlines the necessary remedies to receive restoration of GPL's permissions.

Both the written and spoken portions of this tutorial have been carefully honed and crafted over a decade to yield material that is useful to all three constituencies interested in GPL compliance: developers, business managers, and lawyers. All three groups will learn important information that relates to their role in the process of effective GPL compliance.

This tutorial does not provide rote procedures for compliance; rather, the tutorial focuses on the policy goals that GPL seeks to achieve, and helps developers, lawyers and managers understand how to design processes that both fit their own work-flow and focus on the oft-ignored but most important aspects of the GPL.

Attendees should already know the very basic concepts of Open Source and Free Software licensing, but the tutorial should be accessible to anyone who has spent at least some time in the Open Source industry.

Presented by

Bradley M. Kuhn

Bradley M. Kuhn is the 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, is on pump.io and co-hosts the audcast, Free as in Freedom.

Karen M. Sandler

Karen M. Sandler is the executive director of the Software Freedom Conservancy. Karen is known for her advocacy for free software, particularly as a cyborg in relation to the software on medical devices. Prior to joining Conservancy, she was executive director of the GNOME Foundation. Before that, she was general counsel of the Software Freedom Law Center. Karen co-organizes Outreachy, the award-winning outreach program for women. She is also pro bono counsel to the FSF and GNOME. Karen is a recipient of the O’Reilly Open Source Award and cohost of the oggcast Free as in Freedom.

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