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Violations of the GNU Licenses

This page is maintained by the Free Software Foundation's Licensing and Compliance Lab. You can support our efforts by making a donation to the FSF. Have a question not answered here? Check out some of our other licensing resources or contact the Compliance Lab at licensing@fsf.org.

If you think you see a violation of the GNU GPL, LGPL, AGPL, or FDL, the first thing you should do is double-check the facts:

If there seems to be a real violation, the next thing you need to do is record the details carefully:

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 <license-violation@gnu.org>. It's important that we be able to write back to you to get more information about the violation or product. So, if you use an anonymous remailer, please provide a return path of some sort. If you'd like to encrypt your correspondence, just send a brief mail saying so, and we'll make appropriate arrangements.

Note that the GPL, and other copyleft licenses, are copyright licenses. This means that only the copyright holders are empowered to act against violations. The FSF acts on all GPL violations reported on FSF copyrighted code, and we offer assistance to any other copyright holder who wishes to do the same.

But, we cannot act on our own if we do not hold copyright. Thus, be sure to find out who the copyright holders of the software are before reporting a violation.

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The Free Software Foundation is the principal organizational sponsor of the GNU Operating System. Support GNU and the FSF by buying manuals and gear, joining the FSF as an associate member, or making a donation, either directly to the FSF or via Flattr.

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