Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that Camuda, Capital One, CloudBees, Colt, Comcast, Ellucian, EPAM Systems, Inc., Ericsson, Fujitsu Limited, Indeed, Infosys, Lenovo, LG Electronics, NetApp, Salesforce, Seagate Technology, and Volvo Car Corporation have joined an ongoing industry effort to combat harsh tactics in open source software license enforcement by adopting the GPL Cooperation Commitment. By making this commitment, these 17 corporate leaders are seeking to strengthen long-standing community norms of fairness, pragmatism, and predictability in open source license enforcement.
Today’s announcement follows several earlier waves of adoption of the commitment by other technology leaders. Red Hat, Facebook, Google and IBM led the way, first adopting the commitment in November 2017. They were joined in March 2018 by CA Technologies, Cisco, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Microsoft, SAP and SUSE. In July 2018, 14 additional companies signed on to the commitment: Amazon, Arm, Canonical, GitLab, Intel Corporation, Liferay, Linaro, MariaDB, NEC, Pivotal, Royal Philips, SAS, Toyota and VMware. One month later, in August 2018, the eight founding members of the Open Invention Network (OIN) — Google, IBM, Red Hat, SUSE, Sony, NEC, Royal Philips, Toyota — announced that they had unanimously adopted the GPL Cooperation Commitment. In November 2018, Adobe, Alibaba, Amadeus, Ant Financial, Atlassian, Atos, AT&T, Bandwidth, Etsy, GitHub, Hitachi, NVIDIA, Oath, Renesas, Tencent, and Twitter joined the commitment.
With today’s announcement, more than 60 organizations have adopted the GPL Cooperation Commitment. The 17 new companies in today’s announcement are a diverse set of leading companies whose participation makes evident the worldwide reach of the GPL Cooperation Commitment. They comprise globally-operating companies and mark a significant expansion of the initiative. They represent a broad spectrum of businesses including cloud, semiconductor, computing hardware, enterprise software, telecommunications, financial services, automotive, and software consulting.
The GPL Cooperation Commitment is a means for copyright owners in GPL code to provide opportunities for their licensees to correct errors in compliance with software licensed under the GPLv2 family of licenses before taking action to terminate the licenses. Version 2 of the GNU General Public License (GPLv2), version 2 of the GNU Library General Public License (LGPLv2), and version 2.1 of the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPLv2.1) do not contain express “cure” periods to fix noncompliance prior to license termination. Version 3 of the GNU GPL (GPLv3) addressed this by adding an opportunity to correct mistakes in compliance before the licenses terminate. Those who adopt the GPL Cooperation Commitment extend the cure provisions of GPLv3 to their existing and future GPLv2 and LGPLv2.x-licensed code.
Specifically, the commitment language adopted by each company is:
Before filing or continuing to prosecute any legal proceeding or claim (other than a Defensive Action) arising from termination of a Covered License, [Company] commits to extend to the person or entity (“you”) accused of violating the Covered License the following provisions regarding cure and reinstatement, taken from GPL version 3. As used here, the term ‘this License’ refers to the specific Covered License being enforced.
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.
[Company] intends this Commitment to be irrevocable, and binding and enforceable against [Company] and assignees of or successors to [Company]’s copyrights.
[Company] may modify this Commitment by publishing a new edition on this page or a successor location.
‘Covered License’ means the GNU General Public License, version 2 (GPLv2), the GNU Lesser General Public License, version 2.1 (LGPLv2.1), or the GNU Library General Public License, version 2 (LGPLv2), all as published by the Free Software Foundation.
Defensive Action’ means a legal proceeding or claim that [Company] brings against you in response to a prior proceeding or claim initiated by you or your affiliate.
‘[Company]’ means [Company] and its subsidiaries.
Any company, individual or project can adopt the GPL Cooperation Commitment by following the instructions at https://gplcc.github.io/gplcc/.