"Extreme" Copyleft: Boon, or Bane?
By McCoy Smith

Recently, several proposals have been made for "extreme" copyleft licenses, including two submitted to the Open Source Initiative for approval: the License Zero Public License, the Server Side Public License. These licenses have been argued as necessary because the copyleft of AGPL does not go far enough. Are these proposals a boon, or a bane, to the development of a robust copyleft licensing?

Monday 3 p.m.–3:30 p.m.

There has been a vigorous debate, particularly on the license submission mailing list at OSI, about proposals for new "extreme" copyleft licenses. These licenses, like the License Zero Public License and the Server Side Public License, purport to fill gaps left open by GPLv3 and AGPLv3, because those licenses allegedly allow for behaviors that prevent authors from properly being recognized or rewarded for their works. This talk will talk about the important differences between these "extreme" copyleft licenses and the GPLv3/AGPLv3 licenses, and the state of discussion about whether those licenses would be a boon, or a bane, to copyleft.

McCoy Smith

McCoy Smith handles all IP matters for Intel’s Data Center Group. He chaired, for over a decade, Intel’s Open Source Legal Practice Group, and is a former co-chair for the Open Source Committee for the Intellectual Property Owner’s Association (IPO). He also is on the Editorial Committee of the International Free & Open Source Software Law Review (IFOSSLR).

McCoy taught patent bar review for Patent Resources Group from 1999-2008. From 2006-2007, McCoy was an active participant in one of the discussion committees working on the drafting of the GNU General Public License (GPL), version 3, published in June, 2007. He is also the author of the BSD+Patent license, approved by the Open Source Initiative in 2017.

Prior to joining Intel in 1999, McCoy was an attorney in private practice at Kenyon & Kenyon in New York, NY and Washington, DC, specializing in IP litigation and patent prosecution. He was also a patent examiner in the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office prior to law school.

McCoy is a graduate of University of Virginia (J.D., 1991), Johns Hopkins University (M.L.A., 1989) and Colorado State University (B.S., 1984), and is admitted to practice in New York, California, Oregon and the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.