Unlocking IP (ARC 'Linkage' Research Project)

Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre and
Linux Australia
Linux Australia present:

A symposium: General Public License version 3 (GPL v3) and Australia

Date: Thursday 30 November 2006
Time: 1pm for 1.30pm - 5pm
Venue: Theatre G02, ground floor on the right,
New Faculty of Law Building, University of New South Wales

Light Refreshements before the main event starts.

Background | Commentators | Registration | GPLv3 Resources | Your suggestions | Map
Discussion Paper: [RTF] [ODT] [HTML] [PDF]

Update: Audio and video of this event's sessions
in Ogg, QT and WMV formats (latter two streamed)
(Thanks to UNSW iLecture system and EdTec)

Background: A new version of the GPL?

The GNU General Public Licence is one foundation of modern collaborative software development, the licence under which 70–80% of Free and/or Open Source Software (FOSS) is distributed. ('Free Software' and 'Open Source Software' do not mean the same thing; we have used a common generic term.) After fifteen years, a new version of is currently being drafted by the Free Software Foundation, the author of the license. Two drafts have already been released. A third draft is expected in November 2006 before the final GPL v3 is released in early 2007. The Free Software Foundation actively sought public comment on the drafts, with interested parties invited to comment either online or at conferences in Boston, Brazil, Barcelona and Bangalore.

This “GPL v3 and Australia” symposium provided a local forum for Australian software communities, legal practitioners, policy advisors, academics, programmers and others to address the impact of this licence both internationally and specifically in Australia. The primary aim is to aid those interested in FOSS or software licensing more generally – including users and developers of FOSS, the software and legal academic communities and students – in coming to a well informed understanding upon which to base a submission to the Free Software Foundation on issues arising from the draft licence before its completion.

Most discussion of the GPL v3 drafts have centred on proposed changes in relation to software patents and digital rights management. However, other issues about the globalisation of GPL v3 through its omission of a choice of law provision, and issues of incompatibility with version 2 of the GPL also warrant consideration, as may others which participants raise before the event. Participants should gain a better understanding of GPLv3 issues for Australia, including how the new version responds to concerns raised in the past about specific usage and textual matters.

Format of this event

The symposium will open with several key presenters outlining the issues from their perspectives. This will be followed by discussion and comments from our expert commentators, with some opportunity for comments and questions from the floor.

The event will be recorded on video with reasonable sound, and digital versions will be available here when they have been converted to common and/or open formats.


Eben Moglen (via phone linkup and video recording)

Mr Moglen is the primary editor of the GPL licence text, a internationally renowned academic and lawyer representing the Free Software Foundation with the role of explaining and overseeing the update of the GPL. A short video presentation from Eben discussing issues raised elsewhere and in Australia (including those submitted in writing prior to the event) will be followed later by a live phone conference call to enable a short discussion on questions raised by the symposium or his presentation.

Andrew Tridgell (in person) - presentation: http://samba.org/~tridge/gplv3_sydney.pdf

In January 2006, the Free Software Foundation awarded Dr Tridgell its 2005 FSF Award for the Advancement of Free Software for his work on famous core software tools like Samba, the Linux kernel, and rsync. 'Tridge', as he is known in the software community, has furthered an important goal of the free software movement, analyzing ways for free software to interact with widespread proprietary systems (particularly communication protocols and formats) to allow people to more easily move away from those systems. Tridge has recently devoted considerable attention to the evolution of the core GPL licence's next version.

Expert Commentators

A panel of invited expert commentators will lead the discussion after the presentation. Subject to confirmation, they include:


Registration for this event is closed. It was free, thanks to the generous support of Linux Australia, the co-hosts of this event.

GPLv3 Resources

For more information about GPLv3, see our GPLv3 Resources.

See the link above for access to the audio and video of this event.