Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world's leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that Adobe, Alibaba, Amadeus, Ant Financial, Atlassian, Atos, AT&T, Bandwidth, Etsy, GitHub, Hitachi, NVIDIA, Oath, Renesas, Tencent, and Twitter have joined an ongoing industry effort to combat harsh tactics in open source license enforcement by adopting the GPL Cooperation Commitment. By making this commitment, these 16 corporate leaders are strengthening long-standing community norms of fairness, pragmatism, and predictability in open source license compliance.
We are thrilled to see the continued success of the GPL Cooperation Commitment. Compliance in the open source community is a forgiving process and rightly aimed at maximizing use of open source software.
Today’s announcement follows an earlier wave of adoption of the commitment within the technology industry. Red Hat, Facebook, Google and IBM made the initial 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 funding members of the Open Invention Network (OIN) — Google, IBM, Red Hat, SUSE, Sony, NEC, Philips, Toyota — announced that they had unanimously adopted the GPL Cooperation Commitment. With today’s announcement, more than 40 organizations have adopted the GPL Cooperation Commitment.
The 16 new companies in today’s announcement are a diverse set of technology firms whose participation makes evident the worldwide reach of the GPL Cooperation Commitment. They comprise globally-operating companies based on four continents and mark a significant expansion of the initiative into the Asia-Pacific region. They represent various industries and areas of commercial focus, including IT services, software development tools and platforms, social networking, fintech, semiconductors, e-commerce, multimedia software and more.
The GPL Cooperation Commitment is a means for companies, individual developers and open source projects to provide opportunities for 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. 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.
Read the individual commitments:
Michael Cunningham, executive vice president and general counsel, Red Hat
"We are thrilled to see the continued success of the GPL Cooperation Commitment. Compliance in the open source community is a forgiving process and rightly aimed at maximizing use of open source software. Adoption of the commitment by these 16 prominent technology companies strengthens this message and will enhance predictability in the use of open source software."
Jiangwei Jiang, general manager of Technology R&D, Alibaba Cloud
"Alibaba is an active advocate, contributor and leader in the open source movement, and resorts to openness and inclusiveness to address controversy within the community."
Benjamin Bai, vice president of Intellectual Property, Ant Financial
"Ant Financial is pleased to join the GPL Cooperation Commitment. Open source software has thrived on the basis of collaboration. Litigation should be used only as a last resort and in a responsible manner."
Sri Viswanath, chief technology officer, Atlassian
"Atlassian embraces the open source movement and wants to help in responsibly shaping its future. The GPL Cooperation Commitment is a common-sense solution that makes it easier for users to adopt and innovate with open source, which is why we are pleased to join the Commitment."
Mazin Gilbert, vice president of Advanced Technology and Systems, AT&T Labs
"AT&T is delighted to join the already successful GPL Cooperation Commitment. As a long-time contributor to the open source community, we’re excited to continue on this journey and encourage the spirit of collaboration."
Mike Linksvayer, director of Policy, GitHub
"We're thrilled to encourage and join in broad software industry cooperation to improve the legal and policy underpinnings of open source, which ultimately protects and empowers the people–and the community–behind the technology."
Gil Yehuda, senior director of Open Source, Oath
"Oath is committed to promoting open source success and we support the GPL Cooperation Commitment. Open source collaboration is about working together to make better software for the entire industry."
Hisao Munakata, senior director of Automotive Technical Customer Engagement Division, Automotive Solution Business Unit, Renesas
"Renesas is committed to being a first-class citizen in an OSS community which is why we contributed to the development of the Linux kernel, especially for the development of device drivers. We strongly believe by supporting the GPL Cooperation Commitment, we will be able to drive the worldwide adoption of the OSS license and bring great advantages to the whole automotive industry."
Takahiro Yasui, director of OSS Solution Center, Systems & Services Business Division, Hitachi, Ltd.
"It is our pleasure to declare our participation to this Cooperation Commitment. Hitachi has been participating in the open source ecosystem through being a member of wide varieties of open source communities and working with open source organizations. Hitachi believes this activity helps the open source community grow healthy, and accelerate the speed of further open innovation in the open source ecosystem."
Sam Xu, head of Intellectual Property, Tencent
"Open source is a key part of Tencent's technology strategy. We look forward to working more closely with the international open source community to create new and cutting edge open source solutions. The GPL Cooperation Commitment will provide more reasonable and predictable protection for developers and contributors, which will foster a thriving and healthy open source ecosystem."
Remy DeCausemaker, Open Source Program Manager, Twitter
"Twitter is proud to join the GPL Cooperation Commitment. Efforts like these encourage adoption, reduce uncertainty, and build trust. #GPLCC
Red Hat is the world’s leading provider of enterprise open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to deliver reliable and high-performing Linux, hybrid cloud, container, and Kubernetes technologies. Red Hat helps customers integrate new and existing IT applications, develop cloud-native applications, standardize on our industry-leading operating system, and automate, secure, and manage complex environments. Award-winning support, training, and consulting services make Red Hat a trusted adviser to the Fortune 500. As a strategic partner to cloud providers, system integrators, application vendors, customers, and open source communities, Red Hat can help organizations prepare for the digital future.
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