Syntax Errors: Why Version 3 of the GNU General Public License Needs Debugging

June 16, 2012

The GNU General Public License (“GPL”) is the most popular license in use for free and open-source software projects. Now in its fifteenth year, the GPL has endured both practical and legal challenges and today enjoys widespread use and a reputation as a legitimate legal instrument. However, recently proposed changes to the GPL will harm this reputation and may prove counterproductive to the GPL’s continued acceptance. This Recent Development will briefly introduce the GPL and examine some of the more problematic changes of the proposed GPL. Finally, this Recent Development will propose revisions which will allow the GPL to continue enjoying the legitimacy it has earned, while maintaining consistency with both its past and future intended effects.