The Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) claims that former President Donald Trump’s new social network violates the terms of a free and open-source software license agreement.
Trump intends to launch his own social network, TRUTH Social. He expressed a lot of his frustration in his posts, some of them were recently removed, and his account got banned by the social media giants including Facebook and Twitter.
As reported by The Verge, the license agreement was violated by ripping off decentralized social network Mastodon. The Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG) has 30 days to comply with the terms of the license before its access is terminated — forcing it to rebuild the platform or face legal action.
TMTG’s strategy hasn’t sat well with the SFC, an organization that enforces free and open-source software licenses. “The license purposefully treats everyone equally (even people we don’t like or agree with), but they must operate under the same rules of the copyleft licenses that apply to everyone else,” SFC policy fellow Bradley Kuhn wrote on a blog post. “Today, we saw the Trump Media and Technology Group ignoring those important rules — which were designed for the social good.”
“If they fail to do this within 30 days, their rights and permissions in the software are automatically and permanently terminated”Bradley Kuhn – SFC Policy Fellow
TMTG launched a special purpose acquisition company fundraising effort yesterday, with promises to build a sweeping media empire. Its only product so far is a social network called Truth Social that appears strongly to be forked from Mastodon. While anyone can freely reuse Mastodon’s code (and groups like right-wing social network Gab have already done so), they still have to comply with the Affero General Public License (or AGPLv3) that governs that code, and its conditions include offering their own source code to all users.
Mastodon founder Eugen Rochko also said yesterday that he intended to seek legal counsel about the situation, although he didn’t discuss a specific course of action. “Compliance with our AGPLv3 license is very important to me as that is the sole basis upon which I and other developers are willing to give away years of work for free,” he told Talking Points Memo.
Truth Social has not yet been officially launched. Users could, however, gain access to a test version of the platform, where several of them set up prank accounts that filled the service with fake corporate announcements and even fake Donald Trump tweets. (Since then, the platform has been replaced with a waitlist.)
The former US President’s organization, including himself, is in trouble. TMTG, on the other hand, has only 30 days to act!