Trump’s Brand New TRUTH App May Violate Terms Of Open Source Code It’s Built On

ORLANDO, FL - NOVEMBER 13: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets people as he arrives to speak during the Sunshine Summit conference being held at the Rosen Shingle Creek on November 13, 2015 in Orla... ORLANDO, FL - NOVEMBER 13: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets people as he arrives to speak during the Sunshine Summit conference being held at the Rosen Shingle Creek on November 13, 2015 in Orlando, Florida. The summit brought Republican presidential candidates in front of the Republican voters. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) MORE LESS

The new social network founded by former President Trump may violate the terms of use of the software on which it is based.

On Wednesday night, after Trump revealed the TRUTH social app, Twitter users began to note that the network appeared to be based on an open-source social networking software called Mastodon, which allows people to modify the underlying code so long as they abide by its license.

But the Trump network appears to have taken the publicly available code for the website while violating the terms that make it free to use.

Mastodon founder Eugen Rochko told TPM in an email that TRUTH appeared to violate the terms of use that the software sets forth: making the source code available, and having a copy of the general product license available to users.

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I do intend to seek legal counsel on the situation though,” Rochko told TPM, while declining to discuss any specific legal action he may be contemplating.

“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,” Rochko added.

The AGPL license mandates that software developed for free — like Mastodon — remain publicly available after its been modified. Under the license, TRUTH needs to share any modifications to Mastodon’s code.

The requirement allows developers to remain aware of how the software is being used so long as its run on public servers, continuing the chain by which different open-source developers continue to work on and further modify code that’s been created.

Trump Media & Technology Group, the company backing TRUTH, did not immediately return a request for comment.

Rochko first released Mastodon in October 2016. Since then, the open-source software has been the base for a number of “forks” — when developers take open-source software and modify it. That’s led to the development of several niche social networks that abide by the terms of use that Mastodon sets forth.

Trump announced the creation of the social network on Wednesday night, heralding it as a means to “stand up to Big Tech” firms. The former president was banned from major social networking platforms after the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection.

“We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter, yet your favorite American president has been silenced,” Trump said in a statement announcing the launch. “This is unacceptable.”

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