Trump's Social Media Venture Given 30-Day Deadline To Stop Violating Software License

Under licensing requirements, anyone using the code must make it accessible to the public, which Trump is ignoring.

Donald Trump’s Truth Social media venture has been given a 30-day deadline to stop violating the license of the codebase program the former president’s operation apparently lifted.

“We sent a formal letter to Truth Social’s chief legal officer, requesting the source code to be made publicly available in compliance with the license,” said a statement from the developers of the open-source software Mastodon.

“So-called” Truth Social has “30 days to comply or the license may be permanently revoked” on Nov. 26, the statement said. Trump’s company was warned Wednesday.

In a dig at the former president, the statement also noted: “Of course we would prefer if people so antithetical to our values did not use and benefit from our labor. But the reality of working on free software is that you give up the possibility of choosing who can and cannot use it from the get-go.”

Trump’s venture hasn’t yet officially started up, but an initial version already online clearly appears to be using the Mastodon software that the startup has declared is part of a “proprietary” business — which it isn’t. Use of the word “proprietary” is “worrying,” noted the Mastodon statement.

Mastodon founder and lead developer Eugen Rochko told Vice’s Motherboard last week: “Based on the screenshots I have seen,” Truth Social “absolutely is based on Mastodon.

Rochko said then that he was contacting “legal counsel” to determine what steps to take.

Mastodon’s developers are dedicated to community ownership and public accessibility.

“Social networking, back in your hands,” touts Mastodon’s website. “Publish anything you want: links, pictures, text, video. All on a platform that is community-owned and ad-free.”

The underlying code can be used by anyone — providing users comply with Mastodon’s licensing demands. Its AGPLv3 license (an abbreviation of Affero General Public License, version 3) requires that Mastodon’s source code and any modifications must be made available to the public by anyone using it.

“Notably, neither [Truth Social’s] terms [of service] nor any other part of the website contained any references to Mastodon, nor any links to the source code, which are present in Mastodon’s user interface by default,” noted the Mastodon statement.

Truth Social did not reply to a request for comment from HuffPost.

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