Presented by

  • Bradley M. Kuhn

    Bradley M. Kuhn

    Bradley M. Kuhn is the Policy Fellow and Hacker-in-Residence at Software Freedom Conservancy (SFC) and editor-in-chief of Kuhn began his work in the software freedom movement as a volunteer in 1992, as an early adopter of Linux-based systems and contributor to various FOSS projects, including Perl. He worked during the 1990s as a system administrator and software developer for various companies, and taught AP Computer Science at Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati. Kuhn’s non-profit career began in 2000, when he was hired by the Free Software Foundation (FSF). As FSF’s Executive Director from 2001–2005, Kuhn led FSF’s GPL enforcement, launched its Associate Member program, and invented the Affero GPL. Kuhn began as SFC’s primary volunteer from 2006–2010, and became its first staff person in 2011. Kuhn holds a summa cum laude B.S. in Computer Science from Loyola University in Maryland, and an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Cincinnati. Kuhn’s Master’s thesis discussed methods for dynamic interoperability of Free Software programming languages. Kuhn received the Open Source Award in 2012, and the Award for the Advancement of Free Software in 2021 — both in recognition for his lifelong policy work on copyleft licensing and its enforcement.


Copyleft is a tool to help give everyone the right to modify and fix the software they use. It has proven effective in many situations, giving us projects like OpenWrt, and growing various FOSS communities like Linux immensely. However, copyleft is not the thing that software freedom advocates ultimately want - rather, it is one way of achieving it, and works to varying degrees depending on the copyright and other laws of the country you happen to reside in. Early writing on software freedom tended to focus on copyleft as the solution but, as we enter what many call a post-copyright age, fueled by AI startups and other dubious businesses, we need new tools to ensure that people's right to modify and fix the software they use is protected for current and future generations. This talk will explore some of the foundations of software freedom and how we can re-think the ways that these foundations are upheld through law and social norms.