LWN: Canonical/Ubuntu intellectual property rights policy, update

Jonathan Riddell jr at jriddell.org
Thu Jul 16 13:16:36 UTC 2015

This is one of the biggest slap downs that I've ever seen the FSF give
anyone.  Far from putting anyone's fears at rest they have gone much
further in their critisisms that I would ever have expected and called
it a straight GPL violation.  The minimal change Canonical has made to
their IP policy by adding a trump-clause means they are no longer
violating GPL licences but they will need to ask forgiveness from
copyright holders of GPL 2 code because they will have lost the right
to copy it under that licence.

I hereby forgive Canonical any violations to GPL 2 code I hold
copyright to and reallow them to copy such code under the GPL 2 terms

But the Canonical IP policy is still full of gaps which leave open the
suspicion that there are further restrictions in Ubuntu that prevent
it from complying with Ubuntu's policy that it must all be free to
share, copy and modify.

There now needs to be a strong statement from the Ubuntu Community
Council to reaffirm these Ubuntu values and reassure users that
nothing in Ubuntu goes against the freedoms we all expect.

Unfortunately far from doing this we currently have a CC member
posting on Reddit and Twitter that there are indeed further
restrictions on copying and modifying Ubuntu.  None of this is true
but it further discourages the community and our users.  It's
incredible the CC have felt unable to reaffirm basic community
policies yet feel perfectly able to affirm made-up restrictions.
There are numberous people in the last 24 hours who have asked for me
to get an appology for the bullying I've had but I'd be happy if the
CC would stop claiming restrictions that do not exist immediately and
come back to supporting the community in its values of freedom.


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