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Violations of the GPL, LGPL, and GFDL
If you think you see a violation of the
the first thing you
should do is double-check the facts:
- Does the distribution contain a copy of the License?
- Does it clearly state which software is covered by the License?
Does it say anything misleading, perhaps giving the impression
that something is covered by the License when in fact it is not?
- Is source code included in the distribution?
- Is a written offer for source code included with a distribution of
- Is the available source code complete, or is it designed to for
linking in other non-free modules?
If there seems to be a real violation, the next thing you need to do
is record the details carefully:
- the precise name of the product
- the name of the person or organization distributing it
- email addresses, postal addresses and phone numbers for how to
contact the distributor(s)
- the exact name of the package whose license is violated
- how the license was violated:
- Is the copyright notice of the copyright holder included?
- Is the source code completely missing?
- Does the written offer for source, if given,
only give a website
and/or FTP site where to download the source?
- Is there a copy of the license included in the distribution?
- Is some of the source available, but not all? If so, what parts
The more of these details that you have, the easier it is for the
copyright holder to pursue the matter.
Once you have collected the details, you should send a precise report
to the copyright holder of the packages that are being misused. The
copyright holder is the one who is legally authorized to take action
to enforce the license.
If the copyright holder is the Free Software
Foundation, please send the report to <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
Return to GNU's home page.
Please send FSF & GNU inquiries & questions to
There are also other ways to
contact the FSF.
Please send comments on these web pages to
send other questions to
Copyright (C) 1999 Free Software Foundation, Inc.,
59 Temple Place - Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111, USA
Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is
permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.
19 Oct 2000 bkuhn