Red Hat Adds GPLv3 Cure Clause to its Code-Base

Jun 26, 2018

New provision will provide violators with a grace period to achieve license compliance.

Red Hat has taken the next step to ensure that users of its open source software are protected from any GNU GPL violations. Many companies mix different open source code bases into their products and services. It could be challenging to keep up with the licenses used for each component, and any violation could lead to a court case and public shaming.

GNU GPLv3 added a cure clause that offers a grace period to violators to fix the violation and resume the right to use the code base.

Red Hat said that all new Red Hat-initiated open source projects that opt to use GPLv2 or LGPLv2.1 will be expected to supplement the license with the cure commitment language of GPLv3. The cure language will live in a file in the project source tree and will function as an additional permission extended to users from the start.

There have been some cases where companies using GPLed software were attacked by trolls and dragged in courts. However, Cure clause offers companies a grace period to fix any violation and avoid such a situation.

Red Hat said in a blog post, “We are extending the GPLv3 termination policy to users of our GPLv2/LGPLv2.1 code because we consider it the right thing to do. The Cure permissions offer additional comfort level that users of our code have reasonable assurance of quiet use of that code, even if there is a temporary license noncompliance by a third party redistributing our code, due to misunderstanding or otherwise. We also believe that community adoption of these rights will reduce the opportunity for illegitimate forms of license enforcement. We hope that others will also join in this endeavor to reassure the open source community that good faith efforts to fix noncompliance will be embraced.”

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